Sailing matilda

15 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
25 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
10 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
25 February 2013 | Speightstown, Barbados
18 February 2013 | North Atlantic Ocean - 165 East of Barbados
12 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 300 miles North of the mouth of the Amazon
03 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 260 miles East of Ilha de Fernando de Noronha
29 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 225 miles West of Ascension Is.
23 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 145 miles West of St Helena
16 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 75 miles from St Helena
10 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean
31 December 2012 | V&A Marina, Cape Town, South Africa
20 December 2012 | Hout Bay Yacht Club, Hout Bay, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Durban Marina, Durban, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Bluff Yacht Club, Durban, South Africa
16 November 2012 | Richard Bay, South Africa
11 November 2012 | 85 miles off Richard Bay, South Africa, Indian Ocean
08 November 2012 | Mozambuique Channel, Indian Ocean
02 November 2012 | La Port, La Reunion

Farewell Barbados, Hello Bequia, St Vincent and Mustique

02 March 2013 | Mustique, SVG
The last few days in Barbados were quite interesting. The MacBook developed a problem and the only authorised fixer was on the other side of the island. As we no longer had a hire car we decided to take the local buses. There are 3 kinds of bus in Barbados, the official blue 'Government busses', the yellow private busses and the white private minivan-type busses. All fares going anywhere cost 2 Barbadian dollars (around 1 US). By far my favourite were the private yellow busses as, although they are noisy, the interiors and choice of music reflect the taste of the owners and they will pretty much stop for you and let you off anywhere you want to along the way. The government buses are fine, but a bit staid and officious, and the minivan ones are way too tightly packed for any sane person to contemplate (the only time we used one I had a very large lady and two school girls pretty much sitting on my knee, all to a background of soca music at ear bleeding levels - but all very very friendly). That night we came back on a private one that was decked out inside in the style of what my father would have described as a tarts boudoir - scarlet red with interesting graphics and lighting arrangements, all soundtracked by Bob Marley. Priceless. The next day we had to do it all over again to pick up the fixed laptop. I felt like a real local crossing Bridgetown via the markets and selecting the right kind of bus.

You will be pleased to know that, further to the previous blog, Derek the Dock Master sorted out our laundry bill to our satisfaction and was very reasonable on our mooring charges. Thanks Derek. I could listen to Derek all day - did I mention the Barbados accent is brilliant, and a bit weird to hear coming from blond haired blue eyed Bajans as well as everyone else - needless to say we were sad to leave Barbados for Bequia later that afternoon.

It was only an overnight hop, but it was very rolly and we only could be arsed to put up the headsail - you can tell we are a bit over this sailing thing - so we were very pleased to get there. Bequia is very nice, but on the way our alternator appeared not to be charging our engine battery (we have another one for the service batteries). At Bequia we were told that the guru on alternators was in St Vincent (about an hour away with the wind with you, around 2 and a bit with the wind against). So the following day we headed off to St Vincent. Still very nice, but the alternator man changed our alternators having established that the old one wasn't working (we had a new one spare) but couldn't solve the problem. He said it was the first time he had ever experienced this (yet again we appear to defy the experts). He had to rush off to St Lucia until Tuesday so we decided to see how the other half lived in Mustique for a few days until he got back, although he did recommend some tests we could do in the meantime which may solve the problem. We have just done them and I think we will be going back to get it fixed properly next week.

Pretty much the only way to see Mustique without being a rock star, royalty or a billionaire (William and Kate were here two weeks ago) is to take up a boat mooring - which amazingly you can do for a relatively reasonable fee for up to 3 days. So here we are and very nice it is too. Last night we watched the sun go down at the famous Basil's Bar, and were the only ones there for dinner! Basil's Bar was recreated at the Goring Hotel in London the night before the Royal Wedding, with Basil flown over to conduct proceedings. I believe they have now decided to keep the recreated bar there permanently. In fact the only thing that spoilt it a bit for me was this huge super motor yacht that was an eyesore in daylight, but by night made Las Vegas, New Jersey and Blackpool combined look the height of taste in subdued lighting. The 263 foot long boat was called ACE and rumour has it that it is owned by one of the newly monied Russians. All I can assume is that its owner must be a bloke lacking below the belt. It was like something a 10 year old boy would design, with extra go- faster stripes. Happily it went on its way early this morning.

We walked about the place today, but they will not hire bikes or golf carts to anyone who is not a resident, probably to discourage the riff raff I guess. It is all very nice, but rather artificial, it kind of reminded me a bit of the 1960's show The Prisoner. There also appears not much to see or do, so I guess everyone just stays to chill. Haven't seen any celebrities yet, but not sure I would recognize them anyway. We saw a youngish hairy man with a attractive lady rush by in a golf cart that we thought might be Russel Brand, but who knows. I was famous at my job in Australia for sharing a lift with Mel Gibson and not having a clue who he was.

We will be here until Monday (4th March) when we shall go back to Bequia, St Vincent and then on to Tabago Cays, Meyroux, Union Island and finally Grenada to greet the rest of WARC.

Update 3 March

What a night. We woke up this morning to discover we had been raided by - wait for it - bats! We had hung some bananas up in netting in the saloon and this morning - yes we have no bananas. What we do have is bad poo all over the place - clearly it does something to their little systems. We had heard them coming through the hatches (it was a hot night) but had no idea a banana orgy was going on while we slept.

Now in Basils Bar again for breakfast and can at last send some emails.
Vessel Name: matilda
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 42E
Hailing Port: Portsmouth
Crew: Jonathan & Heather Howard
About: Jonathan and Heather Howard are now back in the Caribbean after completing the circumnavigation. matilda is now on the market and in May we will return to the UK with our friends on Peat Smoke.
Extra: matilda was re-launched in October 2011. Our circumnavigation took 15 months and we are now starting to think about getting back to work.

Sailing matilda

Who: Jonathan & Heather Howard
Port: Portsmouth