17:00.57N 61:45.57W

Sat 16 Apr 2011 00:45

Dear Gentle Readers, I am here once again to provide the daily journal of the adventures of the good ship Siri Ros. Well there has been plenty to report in the last 24 hours.  The following is not mean to alarm, only inform.  So please read on.  First to give some context, I am typing this tied up in Antigua listening to old Bob Dylan tunes put on by Carl who is playing the harmonica along and singing.  Gen is pretty chilling proud. Leo is drying off after standing in a tropical rain shower. Appy’s are on the table, Liz and Lutz are having drinks and there aint a damn thing to complain about.

Now onto the recent summary of the condition of our condition. At around 7 pm  yesterday we finished a nice dinner at the north end of Dominica. It was served up with the love that only those in the first year of marriage can display. It was not Rasta Chilling Chili as I predicted. Rather it was a fine creation of Rasta Pasta. Yes Carl and Gen can really cook. Well so we have heard.  Actually all I can report with accuracy is that they also can serve a really fine dinner.

After dinner we motored out into a nice gentle 10 knot breeze with full main and fully unfurled Genny. Well weren’t we naive.  After clearing the north end the keen if not skilled crew got a good lesson in how to put the first reef in the main.  Shortly there-after, like really freaking shortly thereafter we got a fine lesson in how to put a second reef in the main. I find that the learning process is made more fulsome if there is a good combination of boat movement, darkness, smashing sheets and just enough bad words to make us think we are real sailors. Oh yeah, a freighter lurking in the night just off our port aft quarter adds an exotic touch to the whole endeavour. However under the good guidance of our skipper all was made right, confidence was restored in the timid crew, and the tiny ship stopped getting tossed and we settled into a nice crossing of the pass between Dominica  and Guadeloupe with the wind at around 20-25 knots.   The wind then died and we started motoring around 1 a.m.  So far so good. Sound boat -sound crew, nice night in the Caribbean.  Now some might think that this is enough for one night. Especially for our first night crossing. But as some of you know I have a very short attention span. The span of my attention was not kept wanting. First we had a very alarming boat approach us in the dark and stormy night at high speed around 1 a.m. from the stern. They did not respond to Liz’s very polite requests on channel 16 to state their intentions. (I actually heard her make a similar request to Lutz, but that is for another day). The boat then came up at high speed, and tracked us about 60 feet off our port side. (20 metres for those on the other side of the pond). We then got radio contact from a somewhat less polite sounding French customs officer who questioned us for some time before allowing us to proceed. Amazing how standards are dropping. I thought French was the language of love. I did not feel the love from him. Strange that.

Around the same time out of the dark we heard and then saw a small plane with no lights buzz above our mast at around 200 feet. Again, not really what you are expecting out at sea. We think he made have been in the transportation business. Perhaps a somewhat unconventional cargo. Finally we thought we blew a fan belt and had a temporary shutdown. After a thorough inspection by Lutz, he declared all to be in order and the good ship again settled down to her course north.

From there, the Caribbean really lived up the brochures. Gen and I took the 4-7 watch and got to experience the night melt into the dawn with luminescence streaming out the wake.   Wind picked up. We killed engine and set the course for  Antigua and witnessed a classic yacht race as we approached the island. Winds held steady around 10-12 knots and seas stayed calm. Pretty well perfect.

Now for the best part. Today is my birthday. The kind officers and crew of this member of the Queens’ fleet did not allow it to go unnoticed. Well if the truth be known I was a tich concerned they might not have that little piece of data so I thought i would share it with them. Why not I say? A man only gets so many birthdays. Why not ensure those around you honour you. Lutz made me a very nice Nicoise salad for lunch, and after lunch I was presented a full on celebration, complete with cake, candles, song and a card and totally chilling shirt. This merry gang of wanderers even knew my true weakness/addiction and made me real brewed coffee to go with the cake. I told them how surprised I was they remembered. Now again this will be a surprise to those that know me for the stoic emotionless iron sort of man that I am, but I was truly touched by the kindness. Not so touched I was prepared to do the dishes but touched none the less.

Again, all is well. Our skills are developing. We are all still laughing and life is truly good. Cheers.