Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

A Jolly Life

17 February 2024 | Jolly Harbour, Antigua
Donna Cariss
Life on board in Jolly Harbour is a round of social occasions, mixed with daily chores, boat maintenance, swimming (off the boat and in the JH pool) and relaxing. The Jolly Harbour Yacht Club meets at La Cantina (formerly Westpoint), every Thursday and Saturday evening, from 5pm happy hour until whenever but it's not usually a late night out. There's always someone new to meet, who has just returned to their villa, come back after Christmas at home, or just sailed in. Here's a mention for all the people we have met:
- Jimbo and Lil (James & Sherille), on Freedom Girl (catamaran), who have really looked after us, taking us places in their truck, inviting us to events and forever picking us up in their dinghy, which is bigger, deeper, faster and much drier than ours. Friends for life! xxx
- Robin, moored in the marina on monohull, Circus and later his lady friend, Liz, who came for a 14 day stay. Thanks for the Lucy light, for charging the laptop and having your son bring new guitar strings..
- John and Ali, have a villa in Jolly Harbour and bought Essex Girl (Boston Whaler) from our great friends, Derek and Linda Faint. Thanks for your hospitality; we really enjoyed the barbecue and watching 'Walking on Sunshine' on your deck. Thanks again for the download of books for my kindle; that will keep me going for a while!
- Graham and Liz, formerly of Full Monty, which we raced on when we visited Jolly Harbour some years ago.
- Guy and Michelle (plus friends, Rob and Lisa), current owners of Full Monty. Great chatting with you and really loved the drink and dancing on board the night before you left for Guadeloupe, Dominica and beyond. Hope to see you again.
- Colin and Jane, who have a villa in JH and yacht Seal. Thanks for your hospitality on Saturday. Pete really enjoyed racing down to Falmouth with you and your crew, Colin.
- John C - Great chatting with you at the yacht club and on the beach. Love your sense of humour!
- Paul and Margarite - Enjoyed our chat at the yacht club.
- Bryan and Nancy - Lovely to meet you and chat at La Cantina. Hope you get some great hikes in.
- Tim and Lucy, villa in JH and yacht Pims. Thanks for having Pete (and Tim) on board to race before I arrived.
- Steve and Nicky, next door but one to Derek and Linda. Enjoyed our chat at the beach barbecue and we can't thank you enough for your help, welcome and especially for doing our laundry. That really goes beyond the call of duty (especially Pete's worn out underwear!).
- Molly, lovely swim at the beach and you are not a nerd and you're very brave being out here on your own!
- Simon, who has lived everywhere and will embark on the ARC Plus in 2025 and go round the World with his partner and their daughter, before she's four years old. I hope everything goes according to plan.
- Roger, Linda and Kerry - Lovely to meet you.
- Jane - We hope you get lots of sailing in this season and sorry if we don't get to go out for a day with you, as promised, given your ripped foresail.
- Nick and Debs, from Huddersfield and here for a month. Was great chatting to fellow Yorkshire people! Sorry that you didn't come to the barbecue but glad you went sailing with Jane.
- Peter and Joelle - Enjoyed some nice chats and glad you liked the photos from the start of the yacht race.
- Helen and Bill - Great to meet 'the Duchess' at last. Lovely times with you both, with Derek and Linda.
- Sally and Bob - Met you at last, Sally, at the Valentine's regatta party and what a pleasure. Realised that we already knew Bob, from Full Monty, in 2016. Bob awarded me the bottle of run for most influential person on the boat, when Full Monty won the Saturday race. Pete regrets it to this day!
- Glynnis and Peter - Thank you for introducing yourself, Glynnis, at the Valentine's regatta party, as I had heard your name mentioned often by Jimbo and Lil, Derek and Linda etc.

We have been made very welcome by everyone in Jolly Harbour and apologies to anyone I have missed.

Chores:
- Shopping for food and drinks. As we aren't in the marina, that requires an often wet trip by dinghy
- Taking the rubbish ashore. It's amazing how much rubbish you make on board!
- Doing the laundry
- Cleaning the galley, both heads (toilets), all of the internal woodwork and changing the bedding
- Washing the boat and polishing all the stainless steel
- Scrubbing the dinghy and pumping out water from the frequent, heavy rain
- Filling up with water and fuel at the dock, either motoring in and pulling alongside, or collecting in empty 5 litre bottles

Maintenance completed (to date):
- Pete went up Robin's mast, 3 times, to retrieve and return windvane and replace a part. Nice and easy with his electric winches!
- Repairs to cruising shute and sprayhood at sailmakers in English Harbour (rather expensive!)
- Other small repairs required following minor damage during Atlantic crossing
- Purchased tiller extension and direct feed fuel canister for dinghy and fitted them
- Made a temporary bridle for the anchor chain, to reduce noise as boat swings at anchor
- Fitting new trampoline on Freedom Girl
- Installing single line reefing on Freedom Girl

Key events and other items:
- Friday 12th January - The authorities let the sewage outflow go from Poo Corner into the anchorage. It smelled to high heaven and we won't be swimming off the boat in a while! The almost new moon that night was like a smile, hanging in the sky.
- Sunday 14th January - There was a commotion in the anchorage. Jimbo was in his dinghy and shouting his head off. Why? Fort, on the big catamaran (Mo Orea), next to us, had kicked a kitten off his foredeck and into the sea. The kitten started swimming for shore, realised it was too far and managed to get back to the stern and climb onto the bottom step of the catamaran. Luckily, Chris, who owned the kitten and Jimbo arrived in time to pick it up before Fort dispatched it again. Robyn (Fort's wife) said she was allergic to cats. Jimbo's response, 'and I'm allergic to f*cking Americans, W*nker!'. The incident was distressing but the punchline was hilarious, especially in Jimbo's southern accent. Mo Orea sailed off shortly after and the incident was reported on Jollywood. The catamaran is back in the marina now though, with the owners keeping a low profile.
- Sunday 14th January - Jimbo and Lil drove us to Dennis's beach for the afternoon, where we met up with John and Ali and John C, to have a picnic, swim and listen to the steel band at Dennis's (restaurant). Full Monty dropped anchor in the bay and Guy, Michelle, Lisa and Rob joined us on the beach. Lovely place to swim. Afterwards, we all went to Carla's for her secret recipe rum punch, which was lethal.
- The following days and nights, until the weekend, had strong winds and intermittent, heavy rain.
- Tuesday 16th January - Went to Al Porto for tea with Jimbo and Lil. It's pizza special night - 33 XCD (less than £10) for any pizza, instead of 59 XCD. On our way back, in the dinghy, stopped at Full Monty to say bye to Guy and Michelle and friends, who were heading south for 3 months. Drinks flowed and we danced on deck.
- Wednesday 17th January - Day sail. See separate blog.
- Thursday 18th January - Following the yacht club 'meeting', we went to John and Ali's, with Jimbo and Lil, to have a barbecue and watch the film 'Walking on Sunshine', which is a film set in Italy and wall to wall 80's hit music. It was a great night. My sandals fell apart, walking to La Cantina, so I was barefoot walking back to John and Ali's and my feet were black. Must have rubbed off on the decking, while dancing, at John and Ali's, as my feet were clean(ish) when I arrived back on the boat.
- Friday 19th January - Awoke early and moved the boat from the anchorage to Derek and Linda's dock, in anticipation of very strong winds today and next week. The boat was fine at anchor but we were already getting wet taking the dinghy to shore, so really needed to be closer if it was going to get rough. It was 0645 and there was a dinghy on the dock but luckily the neighbours were up and able to move it. We officially met Steve (ex Worcester and England cricketer) and Nicky Rhodes, next door but one, in the afternoon and it turned out that Pete and Steve went to neighbouring schools and were only a year apart in age.
- Saturday 20th January - Day of the big race from Jolly Harbour to Falmouth and back via Sand Island, with yachts from Falmouth doing the reverse. Pete and Jimbo were raced on Seal (Colin's boat) and I went walking with Lil, after having a cuppa with Jane. It was a beautiful day and the views from Reids Point were amazing. We walked along Jolly Beach, from one end to the other and back. The water was aquamarine; gorgeous.
- Sunday 21st January - The yacht club held a barbecue on Jolly Beach. Everyone took their own food, drinks, tables, chairs and umbrellas and there must have been over 40 of us. Everyone was there. We went round in the dinghy and got drowned as we came round the headland but the return trip was fine. It was a fantastic afternoon of chatter and swimming.
- Tuesday 23rd January - A stormy day with torrential rain. Jimbo and Lil drove us up to St Johns so we could visit the Cuban embassy to obtain visas. After a long search, we found the building, behind a high stone wall and we pressed the buzzer on the intercom by the gate, leaving Jimbo and Lil in the car. We were admitted and waved over to the entrance door. Within seconds, the ambassador appeared and greeted us warmly, shaking our hands and enquiring about our plans and pointing out for us where the marinas were for checking in. He then left us in the care of two ladies, to prepare our tourist cards. Both of them and the receptionist were friendly and welcoming too. There was some confusion over our passports, as I have a new British passport and Pete still has a burgundy EU one and more confusion over what to put in the different fields for nationality, country of residence and country of issue, as one wanted UK, one GBR and another England. Eventually the online forms were sorted and the tourist cards printed for us to check, before being officially stamped. The process took around 40 minutes but was a great experience. The ambassador returned to say goodbye and to wish us a great time sailing and when in Cuba, saying that, despite their economic problems, the country and its people are lovely. What a great experience.
After visting Ooops for cheap beer, the gas place and a couple of hardware stores, we returned to JH and went to Petal's Cafe for chicken rotis for lunch; delicious!
- Thursday 25th January - Attempting to apply for our ESTAs online, as need this visa waiver to enter the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Struggling to upload our passport photos though and it turns out that the system is down for routine maintenance! After 3 days of trying, we eventually completed the process and were rewarded 2 days later with confirmation by email.
- Saturday 27th January - St Muirgen's Day; very significant for us. Persuaded Pete to do a walk to Reeds Point, where we bumped into Jimbo and Lil. Back on board Muirgen, on the dock, we took photos of the yachts before the race start and shared them later at the yacht club.
- Sunday 28th January - Left the dock at 0730 and went to fill up with water, before anchoring in Mosquito Cove. Then we went to check out, ahead of our sail to Guadeloupe. All went well for us but the customs lady gave hell to everyone else. We provisioned for the trip and then helped Jimbo fit his new trampoline on his cat. Then we upped anchor and moved round the headland to Jolly Beach, laid anchor and went ashore. There we met up with Wednesday Belles, Helena Bright and Sharon Mattison and their husbands, Andrew and Ian, for a few drinks and news from Howden. They were on a P&O cruise. Our next stop was Dennis's beach, where we anchored, went ashore and met up with Jimbo, Lil, John, Ali, John C and others. An hour later, we were anchoring for the fourth time, at Piccard's Bay, to go to Carla's for rum punch with the same group of people. There was much frivolity and dancing. We remained at anchor overnight, with plans to leave at 0700 hours for Guadeloupe (see separate blog).
- Tuesday 6th February - Derek and Linda had arrived when we returned to Jolly Harbour and we spent a pleasant evening with them on their terrace, catching up.
- Wednesday 7th February - A day of catching up with everyone, back in JH, until the storm kicked in (see separate blog post). Had drinks on Joyful Surprise, with Dave, Seani and their 2 dogs, whom we had met briefly in Guadeloupe.
- Friday 9th February - Lunch at Morlene's; typical Caribbean food and hospitality. Gorgeous tabby kittens to play with too.
- Saturday 10th February - Rained all day, for day 1 of the Valentine's Regatta. We weren't racing, so had a nice lazy day reading. Big decision about what to wear for the party, as the weather was cool, breezy and there was still the threat of rain. White jeans and a top won out but I should have gone with the strappy dress as the sun came out before dusk, the wind dropped and it was hot and sweaty on the dance floor! What a fantastic night was had by all.
- Sunday 11th February - Valentine's Regatta day 2 dawned bright, breezy and warm. Pete and I walked up to Reeds Point to take photos of the first race. Pete's camera batteries were flat, so the photos had to be taken with my mobile. Great prize presentation at La Cantina, with Seal taking the overall regatta winner, with 7 bullets.
- Monday 12th February - Went to John C's first thing to buy Cuban pesos from his friend, Rob. Black market rate of 165 to the US dollar, versus official rate of 24 and Cuban government rate of 120.
- Tuesday 13th February - Having spent the day helping Jimbo set up his single line reefing, went for sundowners at the Top Up bar, on the beach, with Derek and Linda, joining the usual crowd. Shrove Tuesday but never got round to making the pancakes!
- Wednesday 14th February - Day 2 on the single line reefing and everything works. Went to Arlecchinos, with Derek and Linda for the Valentines menu. Absolutely amazing food and service again and the 3 courses, fizz and wine were less expensive than the 2 courses we had at New Year. Wahoo carpaccio, with chilli oil and avocado cream was delicious.
- Thursday 15th February - Pete is off building furniture with Jimbo for a friend and looking forward to the reward of beer! Our final yacht club night; so lovely to see everyone. We look forward to seeing you all again, hopefully at the reunion in Eastbourne.

On Friday morning, with sore heads, we departed for Barbuda, passing Freedom Girl, as we headed out of the anchorage. Thanks for the send off guys. The less said, the better!
Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Main
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