Yet again we seem to find ourselves stuck somewhere. After planning on
stopping for about a week, we are still at English Harbour in Antigua, and
somehow a month has gone by without our noticing. Quite a lot has happened
in that time actually....
Anyone who stayed awake to the end of the last blog may remember that we
needed a new forestay - the big wire at the front of the boat which holds
the mast up (so quite important really). We went round the corner to
Falmouth Harbour and enlisted the sevices of Antigua Rigging for this, and I
was amazed how quickly their guys worked. We went alongside the dock at
08h00, and were back at anchor in English Harbour by 17h00 with new
forestay, rest of rigging surveyed and re-tuned rig, and one winch and one
cleat re-riveted to the mast which had been a bit loose. All that and it
came in about US$300 less than they had guessed it would cost. The guys
worked really hard, and I was amazed how quickly it is possible to get up
our mast (I blinked and the guy was at the top!) Our rig is like child's
play to these people, though - the chief rigger was telling us about having
recently been up the rigs on Mariella and Eos, two famous superyachts, one
of which had him two hundred and ninety feet up. Rather him than me - I
wouldn't go up in a building that high!
Obviously, Lorraine translated the "saving" on the rigging into spare funds,
with which we bought a new beanbag. This is a serious yachtie waterproof
beanbag from Lazybones, who supply to the superyachts, and I have to say it
is excellent. When I'm allowed to sit on it.
There are quite a number of liveaboards in this anchorage who are permanent
residents. These are folk who, like us intended a short stop, and find
themselves still here in some instances many years later. We won't let this
happen to us, but having been here for a while now, we have made quite a
number of friends. One couple who live on a ex-RNLI lifeboat have a little
boy, Marlin, just a couple of months older than Lucas, and having been
invited to his birthday party, Lucas now knows all the kids in the vicinity.
Marlin's nursery school finished for the Christmas holidays, but they
remained open the following week with a Christmas playgroup, which we
enroled Lucas in. We cycled him up to the school every morning last week,
and I think he had a great time - I think he really benefits from some
sensible conversation with his peers, rather than the gibberish that mummy
and daddy talk about.
Two Thursdays ago we went along to the Dockyard to see the annual "Fincham's
Follies" show. This is a kind of cabaret thing with many of the resident
boaties and folk from the local community making up the acts, most of which
were excellent, but it's brilliance lies in it's amateurishness!. This year
was the 25th anniversary, and apparently they have raised over quarter of a
million US$ for local charities. Everyone had a great time, and I don't
think much work got done on the Friday!
Other activities - Lorraine has been both scuba diving and horse riding.
The riding was very good, apparently the best in the Caribbean so far.
Anyway, we have been here long enough to have been invited to the boaties
Christmas Dinner, which is actually taking place tomorrow evening (Christmas
Eve) on the beach. Everyone is making something and taking it along - we
have been tasked with roasties and cauliflower cheese. For 38. Hmmm.
Hopefully a good time will be had by all. On Xmas Day itself there is to be
a big party at Nelson's Dockyard - champagne starting at 11am!
Any readers who have been following this story since the beginning will
remember Gareth, who sailed with us from the Canary Islands to Grenada, by
way of the Cape Verde Islands and Barbados. He is coming back to join us
for a short holiday, arriving in Antigua on Boxing Day, which will be nice.
We are, however, going to be tearing ourselves away from here, as we have
other friends (yes, really) who are coming to join us in Grenada early in
January, so Gareth will be sailing south with us a couple of weeks, and then
LIATing back to Antigua to catch his flight home again. We are looking
forward to his visit, and the next blog should detail some of the antics we
get up to.
All that remains is to wish all our readers a Very Happy Christmas, and best
wishes for 2010, which hopefully will see us crossing the Pacific, to be in
New Zealand for next Christmas! Either that, or we'll go back to the US and
maybe Canada for the summer, then back down here again next season....who
Graham, Lorraine & Lucas.x