Back on board Ocean Science out of Jolly Harbour, Antigua

Ocean Science's blog
Glenn Cooper
Sat 31 Dec 2016 15:33
17:07.93N 61:59.93W

Ahoy from the good ship Ocean Science out of Antigua bound (we hope) for St Barts, party island of the Lesser Antilles. It is New Year's Eve. Cloudy today with the occasional shower to cool us down. We are currently motoring in light airs but hope to hoist the sails. Including the genoa, referred to by Charlie - one of our number- as the Front Thingy.

The idea was to try and get to St Barts in time for New Years Eve, but we might not make it early enough for the big moment. Watch this space. If we do not we could savour schadenfreude from bronzed yachties with monumental hangovers on 1 January. And we have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot on board just in case. We sailors have to think of everything.

We were a bit late in setting off because of engine issues. First with the tender, which had a seized up starter. I say "tender" but it is really a sort of Formula 1 car masquerading as a jet ski. The starter was stripped and rebuilt by local outboard expert Gregg, a speedy and impressive piece of work. Then we were in the process of casting off when the main engine died on us and could not be restarted. DIY bleeding of fuel lines did not do the trick - even though there was fuel coming through it later turned out that although it was an Earl Grey -coloured liquid with the heady fragrance of diesel, it contained, like Earl Gray, a good quantity of water. Our technical readers will be aware that water is not combustible. A call at about 8pm to David and Joel brought them out with a toolbox, and an impressive knowledge of marine fuel systems. They left at about 1am, Joel talking of an urgent need for rum. Their commitment and can-do attitude was awesome. The engine eventually started and we trundled over to the refuelling dock this morning to get 50 Imperial gallons of 100% pure diesel fuel.

More to follow on the crew and anything else of interest, with photos. It is over 2 years since I sat clicking out this blog at the chart table. The tricks of the trade are gradually coming back to me. The sun is now out, with the island of Montserrat to port. The volcano there is still active but this time I cannot see a plume of smoke from it. We are in the West Indies at the turn of the year in a lovely ocean-going boat. How did we go wrong?