Tues, Wed & Thursday – 31st Jan, 1st & 2nd Feb
Rob managed to borrow a gas bottle from the chandlery, together with a photo of Shian’s gas bottle set-up, so that we can demonstrate to the metal fabricator what it is we would like him to make. Unfortunately Gavin (A1 Marine) has remained invisible all day, despite one or other of us hanging around on the boat waiting for him.
Various small jobs done, quick visit to the Epicurean supermarket – it is very impressive as supermarkets go at first sight, but actually fairly short on the basics (good bread, veg and fruit) but long on luxuries, but beggars can’t be choosers – and cooking for our guests Robin & Sue.
We are alongside a yacht that made the mistake of leaving their boat here for 20 months unseen and are paying a very heavy mildew price. They were shocked at the state of the boat which had also been broken into under the care of the boatyard and so instead of a nice few days sailing before returning to Alberta, the couple and their teenage son (we were so impressed by how hard he worked) have been scrubbing and mending well into the darkness each day.
Robin and Sue (Halsway Grace) came for supper. Big decision: starter and main course, or main and pudding? Luckily Robin is a man after my own heart, so apple pie a la Susan from the EMYR won out, thank goodness! We had a great evening despite much rain again – we seem a bit fated whenever we meet up, it is wet.
We decided to stay on in the marina another day as we still hadn’t seen Gavin and we hope to order the cage and then pick it up either when we drop friends back to the marina in two weeks or after our mast repair at the end of the month.
Sarah had a look at all three book exchanges, but discovered that the one with the best choice also had silverfish infestations, so abandoned it. As it is, any books we swap on to the boat we have been advised to bag up with roach-hotels for six weeks otherwise it is a good way to introduce cockroaches into the boat as they lay their eggs in the glue of paper or cardboard products.
The next morning we finally decided to abandon all hope of Gavin materialising and we will have another go at getting the cage made in St Martin, so got ready to leave Jolly Harbour for Deep Bay which is 5 miles north and on our way to Barbuda as the weather reports all seem favourable. William came to take the line of the yacht we are sharing the mooring poles with, to allow us to motor out and it was at this moment that we discovered that we had a beautiful green, 4” gecko sitting on the gantry under the solar panels. Sarah was quite keen that we should keep it having read of a yacht that got so desperate to get rid of a cockroach infestation that they bought a gecko in the market in Thailand. The gecko did the business but eventually it ran out of ‘food’, by this time the yacht was mid-ocean and at night the gecko would bark with hunger and the skipper would have to get up and feed it little bits of meat. Unfortunately a crew member did away with the creature as the noise got too much. But their gecko was probably a bit bigger….
Anyway we felt that one of our guests next week would be very unimpressed by our addition to the family so we tried to catch it in the landing net without success. Eventually William pointed out that it could swim so Rob knocked it into the water where it seemed to be paddling around quite efficiently. And we left the marina.
We had a quick motor up to Deep Bay where Sarah lost her nerve and dropped the anchor quite well out from the beach. It became apparent, judging by the size of yachts that motored past us to anchor further in, that there is a bar across the bay and it then goes deeper as you go towards the shore, and where it is more sheltered. The wreck of the ‘Andes’ is just behind us and her mast head still just sticks out above the surface of the water.
Rob is also reassessing our anchor dropping technique and had freed off our windlass clutch cones again, (the windlass doesn’t seem to appreciate the salty conditions of a yacht!) so that we can release the windlass clutch to let out more chain quickly if we are trying to anchor in windy conditions. This is when the bow falls off very quickly hardly allowing the chain to pay out on the motor. He thinks that as long as the anchor has hit the bottom and the chain is starting to lay along the sea bed OK, that this chain technique will work. We will have another go in Barbuda where we hope that the water clarity will prove his point. This all came about through debate in Deshaies as we watched the anchoring carnage going on all around in 30+ knots of wind.
A lazy afternoon reading and watching several party catamarans picking up and dropping clients on the two beaches we can see. As the same boats did this several times it really must be a case of “once round the bay”. Sarah also saw a huge turtle surface by the boat but we have already forgotten the lessons of the Old Hegg Sanctuary in Bequia on identification – possibly a Green Turtle?
We will set off north early tomorrow for Barbuda, having read all available information from the pilots, various other yachts’ blogs and even the Compass (the free monthly yachtie newspaper available throughout the Caribbean) has an article in it this month. The island is very low (125’) so offers little protection and therefore you need good conditions to go there. It is also surrounded by coral reefs so one needs to pay very careful attention when navigating in past all the reefs and rocks.