February already

Sun 13 Feb 2011 19:40
Another month has gone by and its February already.
After Lizzie left us on the 1st January we stayed round Jumby for a few nights enjoying Debbie and Mark's generous hospitality as the Christmas winds were so strong.  We  then went up to Barbuda for a night. We came back to Jolly Harbour and took Alice out of the water for a few days to get some jobs done. We antifouled and polished and replaced all anodes which had all badly disintegrated.  We said Goodbye to George on 10th January and then it was just 3 of us - Andrew, Celia and Roger. 
On the 13th Sue and David came back to visit us for 2 and a half weeks.  We had a wonderful time with them (their third stay on Alice) and said goodbye to them last Monday in Tortola.  On their first day we went round to Falmouth to do the inevitable paperwork and have lunch with Debbie and Mark and Karen and Tony Sinclair who were staying with them.  The next morning we were off at first light to Nevis. Saw dolphins and pilot whales on the way.  When we went ashore on Sunday the whole island was very quiet.  We took a taxi tour round the island which was interesting.  Next was St Kitts.  Luckily we were there on a day when there was no cruise ship in.  Customs took most of the morning in Port Zante, Basseterre.  Quite a shabby chic town and a very pleasant meal out in the evening. We then had a 50 mile sail across to St Barts and averaged 8 knots. We anchored outside the town of Gustavia.  The anchorage was very rolly with lots of super yachts.  However this was the easiest place for immigration so far.  After a walk round in the morning we went to an anchorage two miles away which was much calmer.
The island of St Martin is a small island but half of it is French and the other half - St Maarten is Dutch.  It has a distinctly different feel to the two parts.  We anchored in Simpson Bay Lagoon and watched all the superyachts coming and going, but mostly just parked there.  It was also useful for the big chandleries and workshops and for provisioning.  After a few days during which Andrew fixed the generator, we headed off for the BVI.  Several stops there - Spanish Town for the inevitable immigration;  Virgin Gorda Sound where we stayed at the Bitter End Yacht Club and had dinner at Saba Rock Restaurant;  Sandy Spit, Little Harbour and Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke - Great Harbour was a real step back in time, the one road along the sea front was just sand and we had a drink at the famous Foxy's Bar.  Then it was Sopers Hole on Tortola which was lovely, had a meal ashore in the "Jolly Roger"!!  After that we went to Norman Island which was supposedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.  We snorkelled round the caves at Treasure Point.  The only treasures we found were fabulous array of fish and coral.  Wonderful. 
We went to Road Harbour on Tortola for Sue and David to be able to get to the airport.  What a dump.  Village Cay Marina is the most expensive marina this side of the Atlantic so far and the facilities were very poor.  We had a delicious meal at a nearby restaurant but unfortunately karaoke started and we left!!  We said a fond farewell to Sue and David, went to the supermarket again and then motored over to Peter Island. Now the generator works we spent the day there doing the washing as the machine doesnt work with the local electric supplies.   Another delightful bay with great fish to see when we went snorkelling.
Tuesday morning we went back to Virgin Gorda and visited the famous Baths - along with most of the charter boats in the islands!  Very interesting granite stones and lovely snorkelling in between them. Anchored at Spanish Town again to do our clearance out and left early the next morning to get back to Antigua.  We had planned to stop en route but the wind was against us to get to St Martin or St Barts.  We considered staying the night at Saba but as we got close the rock looked very sinister and the swell was in the wrong direction to get a sheltered anchorage.  So we carried on overnight, each of us grabbing a few hours sleep.  Arrived in Jolly Harbour late morning after a 30 hour slog into a force 6 and head seas.   That is a normal wind for here and we got the only weather window for the last 9 days.   We are still there catching up on the maintenance, washing and repairs.  Went on the local bus into St Johns which was quite an experience.  The bus stops when he sees someone who may want to catch it and to get off you just call "bus stop".  A very efficient service tho.
Roger has just left after 3 months with us.  He joined as cabin boy, was promoted to Chief Steward and eventually to Flag Officer!  He is welcome to come back as crew whenever he wants.
Morning walk on the beach in Barbuda
Just a few of the superyachts in St Maarten