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Date: 19 Mar 2011 01:00:00
Title: Lobsters for dinner

17:00.519N 61:50.039W Carlisle Bay, Antigua, Friday night

We got underway today and had a wonderful Caribbean experience which resulted in a delicious lobster dinner for us all. I don't think the lobsters enjoyed it quite as much, though.

After our healthy breakfast of yoghurt, fresh fruit and muesli, Andrea went shopping with Cind and Christine to get some booze. They returned a few minutes later with two crates of beer and loads of fizzy wine so they're in for a good time. I got Saxon Blue ready to go to sea and paid the marina for our week's stay. Alden and I got our stern lines made up as slips and we were ready to go. As we motored forward towards our anchor, I was surprised at how far out we were before we were above it. That's certainly the trick for getting it to set in Nelson's Dockyard. I was even more surprised when it broke out and came up as I was sure it must be under an old mooring chain or something but we didn't need the divers this time.

We got everything stowed which takes ages if we've been docked as all the fenders and warps need to go away and the tender got back up onto the davits. Then we motored out of the narrow entrance, past the fort and into the open sea. The swell hit us straight away but so did a bit of wind so we got the genoa up and started sailing slowly westwards. As we got to the entrance to Falmouth harbour, ICAP Leopard came storming past us with just her mainsail up. In the light airs, she was hard on the apparent wind even though she was going downwind. Truly an amazing sailing machine.

We intended to go into Rendezvous Bay for lunch but, having got in behind the rocks, it was clear that the swell was making straight in so it would have been uncomfortable to sit onboard and downright dangerous to swim off the stern. We headed out, put the genoa up again and sailed a bit futher until we were around Old Road Bluff. The shelter was instantaneous. We headed in behind the headland and dropped anchor just off a small beach. Everyone immediately jumped into the sea which looked just too inviting to resist.

A bit of snorkelling later, we were all back onboard for lunch. Alden then got his newly made lobster snare out and headed off towards the rocks to see if he could catch us any dinner. About 2 minutes later, he shouted out that there were a whole bunch of lobsters in a cave underneath him - he was only about 30 meters from Saxon Blue at the time. I jumped straight in again and swam over to watch him diving down and exploring in the cave. He's great to watch in the water. Not as elegant as Kali but purposeful and he can stay down for ages. It wasn't long before he came back up with a lobster in his snare and we transferred it to the mesh bag. Another few dives and a bit of a struggle later and he had another one.

I swam back to the boat with them and to get the weight belt to give him a bit more weight to make it easier to stay down. By now, the remaining dozen or so lobsters had retreated to the back of their cave and were well out of reach so I had a go at diving down with the weights. They make it much easier to explore on the bottom but I think 4kg is a bit much so I'll try it with 2kg tomorrow. By this time, Andrea was out with Alden and they both had a close-up view of a huge spotted eagle ray as it swam past underneath them. The lobsters were proving too hard to catch so Alden got himself set up again and went off to see if he could see any more luck further out towards the point.

While he was away, we sat and watched the Pelicans flying past and the turtles sticking their heads out to look at us. There were a constant stream of them and occasional fish jumping as well so we had plenty of entertainment. As if that wasn't enough, we could watch the goats wandering among the scrub on the shore. We went in for another swim and both Cind and I found a turtle to swim with. Alden was away for a long time exploring but didn't find another lobster place anywhere near as good as the one just behind the boat so he returned and dived down again to pull a third one up as we watched and clapped.

On his last boat, Alden had been shown an Italian method of cooking lobster so he got stuck into that as soon as he was back onboard. He had to cut them in half, fry them briefly then put them into a tomato sauce to cook. They're then served with spaghetti. The result was fantastic and we all ate the fleshly lobster tails and pronounced ourselves satisfied. Alden, though, was getting stuck right into finding every last bit of meat and telling us where to look. I ended up getting the cheapo pliers our the Yamaha service kit to help with the orgy of cracking and slurping as we got into the feelers and legs. Christine was the most enthusiastic scavenger of all so she's clearly getting right into the Caribbean experience.

We're now just sitting around looking up at the stars and around at the lights on Montserrat in the distance. Alden has proven himself a great addition to the trip and he's provided us with both entertainment and food all day. He's threatening to get involved in fishing with Andrea tomorrow so goodness knows what they'll catch. I hope it's edible.

Harvey

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