Restless of Auckland
Roland and Consie Lennox-King
Thu 2 Apr 2020 23:11

We had a lovely few days together with nephew Peter, Ruth, Jack and Ben. The weather had been quite rough all through their stay, and we only sailed 2 small sails of 8 miles, to Grand Anse beach and back to True Blue, not wanting to put them off sailing. We had rain showers a few times each day, and their favourite was jumping and swimming off the stern of Restless. We said goodbye to them on 20 Feb. and sailed around the south end of Grenada to Grand Anse beach.
22 Feb we set off early to sail 34 miles to Tyrrel Bay, on Carriacou, which is also part of the Grenadines. We had read that Carnival was on that weekend, so thought we would go and see what was happening. We saw lots of large people in skimpy neon mesh outfits getting on to a party ferry and a catamaran, heading for Hillsborough and the Carnival, so we got a minibus around there, to discover loud music leading up to a noisy drunken party starting about midnight, and we decided to get some provisions and return to the boat. We ARE getting old!
We bought some internet time, but it was a dodgy connection, working best at 3 a.m. After nearly a week of enjoying the island, on 26 Feb we went to Customs and Immigration, and checked out of the Grenadines, heading for French Martinique,  and promises of French food and cheese, and Lamb.
The next day we sailed 43 miles, passing Union island, Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Mustique before arriving at a rolly anchorage in Bequia. We had been ashore in Bequia with Gilbert, Pip, Emmeline and Frederick last year, in their first passage of 350 miles. This time we did not go ashore, as we would have had to clear in and out of Customs & Immigration, a time-consuming business and we were only there some 12 hours.
28 Feb we set off at 0630 and over the next 10 hours sailed 74 miles, passing St Vincent, to anchor in Rodney Bay, on St. Lucia, in front of the huge Sandals hotel, a long day, with 15-20 knots of breeze and a moderate swell but beautiful sailing. Again, we did not go ashore.
29 Feb we set off at 0830 with a prediction of calm weather, into more 15-20 knot winds and a large rolling sea, but we only  had 25 miles to go to French Martinique, another nice sail, but one of the crew may not agree. We arrived at 1230, in time for lunch and another rain shower.  Surprisingly it is a rolly Anchorage at St. Anne’s, with several hundred boats.  We put up our yellow Quarantine flag, and a French courtesy flag.
We had done 175 miles, about half of our 350 mile passage to Antigua, where we need to be by 27 March, to meet our kiwi friends, Sue and Simon.
This time we did go ashore, and clear into Customs & Immigration, this was a do-it-yourself form on a French computer. We got some Euros, and bought provisions, and had lamb for dinner, and fresh croissants and a baguette delivered on Sunday morning by dinghy.
1 March we went ashore and had a fresh fish lunch at Le Rendezvous, and facetimed Gilbert and family from the beach. We walked around town, but Sunday is a day of rest, so we returned to Restless, where we were hailed with a “Kia Ora” from ‘Wild Thing’, and parents Steve and Krista came aboard for a drink, leaving 3 teenage boys in charge of a smoking BBQ. 
2.3 The next day we went aboard ‘Wild Thing’ where the 3 boys, Noah, Roman and Mace were doing their Correspondence School homework, reviving memories of our life on ‘Reverie’, 30 years ago. Roman showed us his video of Life Aboard Wild Thing, complete with view from the top of the mast. They had bought their Beneteau 50 in Preveza, Greece, in September, had set off for the Atlantic and the Caribbean, and plan to sail to Panama and across the Pacific, to be home in NZ by November 2020! We invited them to Chinese dinner on ‘Restless’ and the next day wished them Bon Voyage until we meet again in NZ.
This week we did odd jobs on board, and Consie knitted and patchworked, Roland sanded and varnished. We also explored up into Marin, a really protected ” cul de sac”  with literally 1000 boats. We have never seen so many catamarans in one place whole  docks of nothing but cats!
10.3 Our friends Jonathan and Gabrielle sailed into Martinique on their beautiful Discovery 58 Aqualuna, last seen at Block Island, near New York. After drinks aboard  we all went ashore for a  beautiful fish dinner.
Saturday 14th We decided to sail around to Fort de France, but on passing Anse Mitan  decided it looked nice so stopped and spent two nights, before deciding we should get fuel and water whilst we could. On Monday morning we crossed the Harbour to the fuel dock to find it very “ ferme” and notices to say all France was going into lockdown .
Quickly things started to feel strange. We had our computer hacked, so were not getting any news. We went ashore to check out of Martinique, but found the office closed. Then noticed ferries were not running, 3 Cruise ships seemed to be standing offshore, and the French Navy appeared. We spoke to 2 young professors who confirmed everything was going into lockdown, and as we could find no offices open, only a boulangerie at Trois Islets, we decided it was time to leave Martinique and head for Antigua. The only news we could get was the Coconut Net, on the  SSB radio, operated by other cruisers, It did not sound good. The whole world was turning upside down with CoronaVirus19.
21.3 we picked a bad weather window, but felt it was time to go, so we sailed in strong squally weather and big rolling seas north, past Dominica, Les Saintes, and Guadeloupe, to arrive 170nmiles later at St. John’s Harbor, Antigua. 
We passed our health checks, and were welcomed into Antigua, St Johns has become the only entry and exit point. Once we had our Cruising  Permit we sailed down to Jolly Harbour, where we topped up with fuel and water while it was still available. We  also provisioned at the local  supermarket, expecting we may not be able to do so for some weeks as the Virus shutdown widens.
We were happy and very relieved to find our friends Eve and Christopher in residence in their beautiful villa in Jolly Harbour. They kindly  invited us to tie up at their dock,which has been a great relief to Consie as we are safe and far removed from people. The tame hummingbirds flying in and out are just one of the many wonderful things about this spot.
Antigua soon went into restrictions, planes stopped flying in or out, boats were not allowed to enter, and we could not leave, not that we wanted to. We could only move boats with permission from the Coastguard.
1 April at midnight, Antigua went into 24 hour curfew for a week, most likely to be extended. We were in the best possible place, with friends, and lots of jobs to keep us busy.