Chilling out in Antigua

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 24 Apr 2011 20:17
The windlass fuse no longer functioned as we attempted to anchor in Freeman bay, Antigua. Trying to sort this out so close to shore and with a myriad of boats packed into the anchorage was no mean feat and we were glad of the help from Caroline and Igor who came across in their dinghy to assist. The windlass casting has almost disintegrated; a most disconcerting state of affairs. Dick has jury rigged it by supporting it with chains.
Igor is a complete natural when it comes to boats, he also has all the fancy qualifications; although he works mainly with monohulls, he had no problem at all working on the catamaran. He just knew instinctively where things were kept and what was required to be done. It is such joy to be with people who know what needs to be done and just get on and do it, without having to be asked and or shown.
After replacing the damaged hatch over the stern, portside heads, Dick also managed to rethread one of the reef lines on the mainsail, which had been put on incorrectly, thus causing us to have to sail with the main reefed even when the weather didnât warrant it.
All the internal cushion covers have now been washed, as have the external cushion covers, with the exception of those on the fly-bridge. These will need to be in place for the passage to Grenada so wonât get washed until we reach our destination.
Mia, our granddaughter is the tiniest scrap, though at 14 weeks old is apparently huge in comparison to her size when born, weighing in then at only 5lb13oz. She seems to be quite content to be picked up by almost anybody, with big smiles for all. She has also just started to laugh and is desperate to stand up.
I am incredibly impressed by the way my daughter, copes with living on a boat with a baby. If she needs to get about, day or night, she quite competently puts Mia in her cradle, puts the cradle in the dinghy and off she goes. Amazing! Mothers who can walk to their car and place baby in a car seat just donât know how lucky they are. Fortunately it is a life-style that Caroline has chosen and a way of life that she and her partner enjoy. It looks as if they will be house-sitting while in Antigua, from June to October. Who knows, perhaps they might think about becoming land based after having the advantages of a pool and a car for several months.
The sun has shone since our arrival and not a drop of rain fell despite the odd black cloud which has floated past, until the night of Thursday 21st.
Antigua Sailing week commences on the 24th April so we were lucky to get a decent anchorage so close to Conch Pearl, the boat on which Caroline and her family live. Before we arrived on the afternoon of the 18th, the Bucket, a race of super yachts had been completed, as had the Classics.
We have been chilling out, playing with our granddaughter, swimming in the blue, gentle sea, wandering ashore to buy some fresh fruit and send some postcards, leaving the boat chores mainly at arms length until we get to Grenada.
I did manage to check out the medical supplies and have three carrier bags full with out-of-date medicines, ready to drop of at some unsuspecting pharmacy. The medicine cupboard is now much depleted which is great, especially as we will be mainly day cruising, certainly during next season, so most of our medicines would be inappropriate anyway. Having the extra space in the fridge where some of the stuff had to be kept, is a real bonus.
Still havenât seen any Mars bars although there seem to be plenty of Snickers and bars of Milky Way.
Friday evening we were infested by a plaque of quite small flying ants. A quick zap with the insecticide seemed to solve the problem.
Saturday morning Tzigane arrived in the anchorage. That evening John and Jenny came on board for pre-dinner drinks and then, traveling with them in their dinghy, we went ashore for a scrumptious meal in a French restaurant.
Next morning, John and Jenny joined Grand Filou as crew and took part in the first race of the day, on the first morning of Antigua Sailing week.
Dick and I went ashore and checked out ready for an early start Monday morning and then refueled before returning to an anchorage where two turtles were swimming in the water.