17:03N 61:53W Antigua Saturday 5th April 2009.
Hi to all you at home, First of all I would like to send our best wishes to Chris Cook and I hope he is recovering from the operation well and will soon be home with Pat and Emily. I would love to get an e-mail from you when you feel strong enough.
As can be seen we are back in Antigua to see Tim on his way home after five weeks of sailing Libertad in the Caribbean and adding another seven hundred miles to his already impressive log of twelve hundred miles from Falmouth to Lagos in Portugal last year, thanks for all your help we are missing you already, you’re the best!
Corrie and Emily flew in to Antigua last Saturday afternoon; the crew had been slaving away cleaning the boat in readiness for their arrival. Although a little late they landed safely and we whisked them away to Jolly harbour and dinner ashore to celebrate. Jet lag was having an effect and they rolled in to the bunks by 10:00 pm.
We had been busy doing some repairs and serviced both the generator and main engine whilst we were in striking distance of a chandelry.We decided to give them a rest day on Sunday before sailing for Nevis and St Kitts on Monday. The downwind passage of 50 miles with a northerly swell gave some the opportunity to revisit their breakfast and others to catch up on some sleep and get their sea legs.
We picked up a mooring off the capital on Charlestown on the leeward side of the island, arriving too late to clear customs and immigration we took the dinghy ashore to explore the beach. We discovered that the Four Seasons resort on Pinney's beach had been badly hit by a hurricane in October 2008 closing down this magical resort until extensive repairs can be made.
The following morning I spent a happy hour scraping bread dough from the air filter after Sarah and Corrie had been attempting to prove the bread on top of the engine prior to baking, not being the best start to the day I then went ashore to clear customs and immigration . The customs office is conveniently situated on the dock in Charlestown and completing the obligatory forms in triplicate I was told that I then had to go to the Police station to clear immigration, after a short mile walk through this capital I entered the main entrance and asked he desk sergeant for the form to complete in triplicate. I was in a crowded front office with people jostling for attention and two very subdued prisoners in hand cuffs waiting for the Magistrates to determined their fate, One had brought his mother with him, I assume as a character witness or just for support, unfortunately she spent most of the time wailing and beating her chest, she maybe new more of her sons fate than the prisoner. After an hour I walked back to town to find the port authority office to pay harbour dues and a green tax to help with a recycling campaign. I then had to return to the Customs office to collect the clearance papers. This operation has to be completed in reverse when leaving so time for sightseeing is limited.
Returning to Libertad after two and a half hours the crew were restless to get ashore, Tim Emily Sarah and Ewan opting for a walk along the beach, Corrie and I decided to take Nicholas and his Taxi for an island tour visiting the famous Montpelier Hotel, and old plantation house set high up in the rain forest overlooking the sea. We were told that Lady Diana the Princess of Wales was a guest at one time, with that reccomendation we decide to invest in a morning coffee at $20 a throw, we savoured each sip, enjoying this $500 a night luxury.
It was a half day holiday due to the local schools having a sports day so finding a restaurant for lunch was a challenge. We returned to the boat for a cup of tea and a rest, spotting a turtle slowly swimming by from the cockpit. The rest of the crew came back an hour or so later and were collected from the beach. After a Lasagne dinner we headed for the bunks to read. Tim and Ewan preferring to watch a film (Pirates urrrrrrah) in the T.V. the title doesn’t really describe the true nature of this block BUSTER.
We let go the following morning by seven and headed south to return to Antigua, with wind on the nose we had been motor sailing until the engine died on us and despite my best efforts at bleeding the system ( that’s a technical term not an abuse) it refused to start ,so we decided to set genoa and test our windward sailing skills, tacking back and forth for the next six hours to round up in to Jolly Harbour Bay and request a tow to an alongside berth from the dock master. I had text John and Jackie on Ula knowing they were in port, not surprisingly John came out in the dinghy with the dock master and the rest of his crew waited patiently for us to come alongside and take our lines, thanks guys, Talking of Ula and her crew, they flew back to the U, K. today leaving a pristine Ula to the delivery crew to return to Portsmouth for the middle of June. We have had some great sailing since meeting up with John and Jackie in Falmouth all those month ago, we will miss your company and friendship but look forward to seeing you in Sovereign harbour later in the year.
Ewan is cooking dinner tonight and it smells great (Chicken stir fry) we intend to sail in the morning for Montserrat, yes the island with an active volcano, and then work our way north to St Kitts’s Martin, Anguilla and Tortola in the British Virgins. Corrie and Emily will fly out on the 16th April to Antigua and the U.K.
We will keep you posted as often as possible with the voyage north.
Regards and love to all Paul, Corrie, Sarah, Emily and Ewan.