As the days and
nights have gone by the moon has changed from a little sliver that set early to
a bright ball that is already up and about well before the sun has set. At night
it now creates clear shadows in the cockpit and almost enough light to read by.
This makes my star gazing of earlier in the passage impossible until the moon
has set. However, on balance it is nice to have the light.
The weather is
now very humid, much more so than we remember from the last time we were here.
The temperature is not excessive, in the high 80s but the humidity means we are
rather sweaty all the time. Its odd how much is different to how we remember it
to have been.
Of course some
things have changed dramatically. We now know our position all the time to
within a few feet. It will make the landfall at Barbados much less exciting
simply because we know what we will see and when we will see it. Last time we
relied on a cheap watch, a plastic sextant and a lot of faith in my ability to
look up all the right figures and add them up correctly. I am sorry to say I
have not had the sextant out of its box once on this passage. Sighting Barbados
28 years ago was a thrill that I have remembered clearly over the years. This
time it will almost be routine.
We are also sailing a much larger, faster and better equipped boat. We
took 20 days to cross in Jobiska, this time it looks as if we will take 15. On
board we have short wave and VHF radio, satellite phone , 2 computers, 2
fridges, watermaker, radar, 3 GPS units, a navigator, roller reefing, electric
winch, electric windlass, bow thruster, EPIRB, towed generator etc, etc.
28 years ago we had a Roberts radio. inherited from my granny, for
picking up time signals (and the much better World Service), a Radio Direction
Finder, 2 plastic sextants, an echosounder and not a lot else...except youthful
One of the definitions of Blue Water Cruising is going to beautiful
places and mending all the systems that need attention. We already have a list
for Grenada...mostly sorting out the sails a bit rather than electrical stuff.
It is easy to get overwhelmed by all the gear and persuading it to continue to
work in what can be a rather harsh environment. The simplicity of the past does
appeal. However so does cold beer, a water supply and the knowledge that we are
where we thought we were!
Fortunately we have my old log book and Lorraine's old diaries to remind
us of the problems we had back then... an engine that sprung a leak and flooded
the saloon, an alternator that worked in fits and starts, a lack of power that
meant we ran mostly at night without navigation lights and had to use a Tilley
lamp inside that made it very hot, a cooker that rusted away, a clever little
oven made by Lorraine's brother that she had to balance on one of the gas rings
to bake bread, oh and warm beer!
But sometimes the simplest things are the best. Our best addition to the
galley equipment has been 2 rubber based dog bowls...ideal, capacious and
totally non-slip food receptacles. We have Libby Purves to thank for this as she
uses the same on her boat and wrote about them in her regular article published
in Yachting Monthly. A pity that dogs do not drink from mugs.
A Final Word On Egrets
We have been surprised and delighted at the response to our attempts to
identify the egret and keep it alive. Thanks to all for comments, thoughts and
At this point we would like to thank Joel Delorme for his suggestions on
possible feeding and general info on cattle egrets. Joel of Ensemble Delorme,
Lowestoft, is a great craftsman who can do wonderful things with wood and
other materials. He has worked on two of our boats including making a
lovely pair of doors for this boat so that we don't have to slide washboards in
and out of the main hatch all the time. Many thanks Joel, the doors have been
admired by other Beneteau owners we have met on our travels.
Also want to thank our daughter Harriet who has sent a veritable treatise
on Egrets, thank you Hattie you have saved me a trip to the library and it
has been really interesting reading. In quick and minute synopsis - the
cattle egret, originally native to parts of Asia, Africa and parts of Europe,
has successfully colonised much of the rest of the world. They are one of the
most successful migratory birds having adapted to very different
terrains with recent sightings as far as Fiji. They have been encouraged
in many areas because they control cattle pests such as ticks and flies.
There are large populations in North and South America and there have been
flocks recorded crossing the Atlantic down as far as the Falkland Islands so it
seems our migrant was not that unusual in being out here.