Another night, another lobster

Saxon Blue's Blog
Harvey Jones and Andrea Stokes
Tue 29 Mar 2011 01:22
17:04.373N 61:40.415W Nonsuch Bay, Antigua, Monday night

We haven't moved very far today - just far enough to give us a different view and another island to explore. I had lots of troubling dreams in the night so it took me a while to get myself ready for action this morning. To start with, I just couldn't work out where I was, even that I was on a boat. Then I dreamt about being back at home but everything was slightly different so I didn't know where anything was or what I should be doing. Luckily, Andrea realised that I was getting feverish and woke me up.

Cind started the day off with a swim around Bird Island. While she was doing that, Saxon Blue was yawing around all over the place in the increased wind. It had also swung around to the south a bit so I thought that moving over nearer Green Island would give us more shelter. We dropped our mooring and headed over there with Alden showing Andrea what to look for in spotting safe passages through the coral. When we got to Green Island, we could see a beautiful beach with some moorings off it. Unfortunately, they were all taken so we motored in slowly towards a bit of clear water between the buoys and the beach. As we came alongside one of the moored boats, I looked over to see Hans, our Norwegian friend from the Iles Des Saintes sitting in his cockpit watching us. Just time for a quick "Hello, how are you?" before we were past and into anchoring mode.

We anchored not far off the beach and dropped back in front of the boats nearest to it. It was slightly short of room but fine, especially just for the day. From there, we all jumped into the water for a snorkel around. Alden shot off in the tender to explore the anchorages on the other side of the island and came back while I was still swimming around. He wanted to show me what he'd found so I jumped up into the tender and we headed off around the point.

On the other side of the island, things were much more exciting. There were some offlying reefs and one of them had the hull of a yacht stuck on top of it at an alarming angle. It must have been there for some years, judging by the state of it. Past that, we entered a shallow bay with only a slight swell making it in past the reefs. There were two empty mooring buoys but a large tour boat was parked on the beach disgorging a stream of obese Americans. We carried on past another point and into a more protected bay with another couple of buoys. It looked completely idyllic although the entrance was a bit narrow. Both the bays looked lovely and I'm sure we'll go around there over the next few days.

We headed back around to Saxon Blue and found that the boat on the mooring buoy behind us had left so we decided to get ourselves onto that for a bit more security and space. Alden got the anchor up while I backed away from the beach and then forward again to pick up the vacant buoy. From there, I swam ashore to continue my snorkel and Alden got prepared for a day out hunter-gathering on the reefs. I found where the girls had put all their swimming stuff in some trees. There were a couple of makeshift hammocks there as well so I just sat down in one of them to see what animals were around. Immediately, everything started to rustle. A flock of tiny birds were hopping about in the branches and arguing about who should get the best perch. Some of them were the little yellow-breasted ones that like sugar and they're always brave so they came quite close.

Most of the rustling, though, came from the lizards. Dozens of them were ranging around looking for lunch. Somebody had left some barbecued chicken on the ground so the largest lizard was tearing bits off that and chasing away any smaller ones who dared come too close. Others were hopping on and off branches and roots. I kept my feet still and one lizard just walked over them, giving me a nice tickle as he did so. It was lovely sitting there with all the creatures. Often out here, you don't see any animals atall. Sometimes you can hear a bird but not see it. This was much more like being in England with all the birds hopping about, too busy with making a living to bother about a person watching them.

Alden walked past me on his way inland to walk over to the other bays and go hunting and photographing. After a while, the girls returned so we swam back to Saxon Blue to get some lunch. In spite of the beauty of the bay, it isn't great for snorkelling with a lot of grass and no rocks for the fish to live around. The water isn't very clear, either. After lunch, the girls went back ashore while I stayed onboard reading my book about Captain Bob Bartlet, a Newfoundlander who sailed to the arctic in around 1900. I also gave the watermaker filters a wash as we've been running that a lot in water with a fair bit of sand in it. It's a great bit of kit and has given us so much freedom. We can have lots of people onboard, all having showers and doing washing without having to go to marinas all the time to get water.

As the afternoon wore on, the sun got lower and Alden didn't reappear. I went around the point in the tender to see if he was trying to swim back but couldn't see him anywhere. As it got to almost sunset, Andrea was making plans to effect a rescue but, just as the sun set, he appeared on the beach. I went in to fetch him in the tender and he was looking very happy. He'd explored virtually the whole island, taken loads of pictures and videos and found the biggest lobster yet. It was a beautiful creature which we all admired and then ate. Delicious. It's great to watch Alden, Christine and Andrea getting stuck into the recesses of the shell to extract every last bit of flesh.

It's dark now and getting cooler. Our mooring is sheltered from the waves and swell so we should get a very calm night and then another day in paradise tomorrow. I realised today that I'm very happy just knocking around on the boat. Antigua is a great place to relax at the end of our voyage. There are lots of sheltered anchorages with great scenery and no hassles. There are other people around but it's not crowded and they're mostly competent mariners. It's going to be hard to leave, in the end and I think we'll be glad that we'll be coming back before too long.


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