Astra log - Road Town, BVI - 2nd to 7th March 2008

Jeremy & Sally Paul
Fri 7 Mar 2008 22:43

Road Town 2nd-7th March


We allowed a couple of days to provision, to collect our newly “mended” compressor, to rid Astra of her newly discovered cockroach infestation, and the serious business of preparing mentally and physically for an ocean voyage.


Sally was the first to discover, or at least to acknowledge, the existence of Harry the hairy cockroach and his family. Several times thitherto she had claimed that she would leave the boat if they were sighted. Despite great protestations, screaming and threat of departure she bravely reached for the “Trap-A-Roach” and the beasts’ demise. One week later, we still have Sally onboard and 21 guests in our “Roach Hotel” We are doing our best to allay Sally’s concerns and pooh-pooh sentiments of “either they go or I go!”


The Compressor has proved less easy to deal with than the roaches. In fact it has shown itself to be a bit of a fighter with a strong dislike for going to sea. It had been “mended” in the USVIs and shipped to Road Town for our collection. It registered its discontent with sea travel by taking a large bite out of Ash’s forefingers on its return. When the gnarling beast was eventually leashed out of harms way in its lair in the lazerette it furthered its protest by refusing to work (its job is to fill dive tanks.) Needless to say, Jeremy was not a happy chappy, having just paid for it to be fixed and waited a Caribbean-styled length of time for the repair to be completed.


George and Ash were devastated that they were forced to spend more time sampling the local culture while Jeremy undertook to go with the Compressor to the St Thomas, USVI, to see if he could get the confounded thing repaired properly. Sally in the meantime was re-provisioning in order to keep supplies topped up despite the best efforts of Ash, George and friends.


After a night in St Thomas with Jeremy being beaten into submission (the Compressor, not Jeremy) the fiendish device finally accepted its lot and agreed to come back and serve its designated purpose on Astra. Jeremy successfully nursed it across another ferry crossing without complaint. Indeed, all was going too well: one last hurdle to clear; it had to be successfully unloaded by the ferry company’s handpicked-imbeciles who thought it best to test the rejuvenated machinery by throwing it at the pavement. This necessitated further effort, money, and delay and several more happy-hour priced beers for all.


Fortunately, throughout the fiasco we had the Village Cay Bar on hand to provide plentiful refreshment and company. We were delighted to catch up with Berenice, an Italian Swan 62 who we met in the Swan rendezvous a week earlier (and famed for blowing 6 out of 7 spinnakers during the Arc!) All four members of Berenice provided excellent company, and her new skipper Fabri, seemed particularly keen to understand the English customs of ‘binge-drinking’ followed by inappropriate behaviour. To cut several long stories short, an excellent week’s evening entertainment must be summed up by mentioning:


-         The erection of Jonny the inflatable wind vane

-         Fabri gleefully stating “I put my arse in the face of George”, while the poor fellow took a short nap.

-         Fabrizio’s fervent and repeated lessons in “how to be a latin lover”, and his kind provision of willing participants to practise on.

-         The Tree House, a truly excellent establishment particularly contemptuous of tourists who pour off the cruise ships and treat this excellent bar as a public toilet (see pictures). The Tree House was also witness to the UK and Astra’s Ash and George beating Italy and Berenice’s Antonio and Fabrizio at pool (add to the list with: laser racing, boules and yacht racing). Unlucky chaps!


What Road Town lost by having filth-strewn streets, stinking cruise ships, and incompetent cargo-handlers it gained by having a crowing cockerel on every street corner and thoroughly charming signs, our favourite of which is the motto of Road Town’s secondary school, a wonderful statement which has been heartily adopted as the motto for Astra’s crew:


Can all you can while you can”