Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Irma and Blue Pearl

We don't normally blog in the off season but this is out of the ordinary.

We watched into the evening as Hurricane Irma bore down on Antigua. At the 11th hour... about 11 PM Pacific time, we saw a slight shift to the north and Irma veered off, the eye passing about 40 miles from the island. As the evening went on we saw wind reports from Barbuda peak at about 118 MPH before registering calm. The calm was a cruel trick, the wind instrument had simply ceased working.

This morning we learned that Antigua was largely undamaged. Lots of flooding and debris but not much else. A spokesperson from our boat yard reports that there is no obvious damage.

Not so on Barbuda, Saint Barts, Tortola and points west. So much damage.

Irma - a beast

Paraquita Bay, Tortola before

Paraquita Bay, Tortola after

Bearing down on Fajardo, PR
We were lucky. Wishing others in the path all the best.

Glen and Pam, Blue Pearl - at home safe and sound.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Get Out the Shut-down Checklist

OK... now we're getting ready to haul. We are at North Sound Marina, tied up alongside the haul-out well.

I forgot to mention in my last post about the movie being shot in Hermitage Bay while we were there. We saw a derelict boat that appeared to have gone aground at one of our favorite "Beach Blanket Bingo" beaches. Pam clued-in very quickly that it was staged and was probably part of a movie. And, sure enough, we saw on "Antigua Cruisers" on Facebook that they were filming "Wendy," a variation of the Peter Pan theme. Over the next week we watched as the cast and crew arrived in the morning. We could hear the director yelling, "Cameras rolling. OK, Action." and stuff like that. The derelict boat looked as if it was mostly underwater but on the day we rolled out we could see it perfectly afloat. I guess they had air bladders inside that they could inflate.

Anyway, it provided an excellent distraction as we engaged in more varnish, sudokus and Pam's online scrabble.

Wendy - filmed in Hermitage Bay
We took advantage of a low wind day to move north and east (into the wind) to Davis Bay (Jumby Island.) They have great scenery and even better internet. Took down the staysail, Pam worked on caprail covers and I tried to stay out of trouble.

Beating conch to make conch chowder

Cooking breakfast

Pam's water collection technique
video

Stowing a solar panel
We were ready to head over to North Sound early today to give us time to do those things that require being tied up... but they weren't ready so we lollygagged until 4 and then headed over.

So here we are for a couple of nights... before our haul on Friday and flight home on Sunday.

Pretty sure I can find the breaker for our power

Dumping the jib

How are we going to stuff that in a bag?

Wowwwww, that's lookin' good

Almost perfect!

Woooopeeeeee!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Well, That Was Fast!

Hello again, Faithful Reader!

As you can tell from our SPOT locator, we are back in our favourite Antigua anchorage, just off the prestigious Hermitage Bay Resort.

We ZOOMED up here from Dominica, sadly choosing not to spend time in the beautiful Les Saintes, Pigeon Island and Deshaies. We reluctantly turned down an offer from WindSwept Dreams to accompany them to Marie Gallant and the eastern ports of Guadeloupe... because we are running out of time and we need to take advantage of the good wind days.

Stripped the varnish off the last (hard-to-do) caprail

Holy smokes - Chris and Linda from Troubadour!!!

Bye bye Fort Shirley - best artifacts in the Caribbean!!!

Dominica to Les Saintes was fast and uneventful. We went into Terre Haute and checked in and out of France. Went to the grocery store to buy Leffe beer and some disgusting French rum and some vegetable or something that Pam wanted.

Les Saintes to Deshaies was a roar at first - 7+ knots - but it died in the wind-shadow of Guadeloupe and we ended up motor-sailing.

Finally... a decent picture of a whale!

Clearing in and out of France

Doing a walk-about. Need exercise, right?

Working hard on a VERY hard Sudoku

Pam's doing the last of her word searches - is anyone on watch???
Crowded Deshaies harbour
And Deshaies to Antigua was phenomenal for the first 4.5 hours and a bitch for the last 2. But we did it with an average of 7 knots so... not bad. And we had a dolphin encounter

video

Hi Blue Pearl. Nice boat!!!
Maltese Falcon anchored off Five Islands, Antigua
We've seen whales, dolphins but no mahi. Folks all over are telling us about the prodigious numbers of mahi they are catching, while we are catching none. What's wrong with Pam's technique?... I wish I knew.

We are stocking up on Waitrose vodka and gin for next season. At about $10 CDN for the gin and $6 for the vodka it is too good to pass up. I'll bring some home so you can try it. So Blue Pearl is well stocked for next year with gin, vodka and rum. No bottom paint, chain, wax or spare parts but tons of booze.
Stocking up - for your trip down here next year!


We will enjoy Hermitage for a few days keeping up with the varnish. Then around to North Sound to prepare to haul.

Blue Pearl anchored off Hermitage Bay Resort
Check with you later!!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

In Transition

When we passed through Dominica on our way south in February the place was hoppin'.

Carnival was about to begin and the Portsmouth Anchorage Yacht Services (PAYS) guys were getting ready for "Yachty Appreciation Week." There were BBQs, beach parties, groups hiking hither and yon, music nights and a whole host of visits to neighbouring yachts for "Sundowners."

When we got here this time it was completely different. There are less than half as many boats and the place is quiet and sleepy.

We love it here all the same. We haven't done any hiking or BBQs or parties but we did go into town to buy rum.... and we did go snorkelling a couple of days ago.

Bowsprit nicely varnished - except that centre piece - where we are going to add some starboard

Excellent snorkeling technique

Blue Pearl and WindSwept Dreams on PAYS moorings.

Skinny bathroom - trying to fit in.

Music night on Blue Pearl with Ed and Ann
Had a nice trip up from Roseau to Portsmouth. Just as we were leaving we spotted two whale watching boats just south of where we were anchored. We headed in their direction and were rewarded with humpback spottings. A mother and her baby were puttering around in the harbour. We kept our distance which resulted in stellar photos... this is the best of them!

Yah! Whales.
Next morning as we were coming on deck with our coffees we spotted one right in Portsmouth Harbour. I saw his tail flukes as he/she dove down. Yay whales!

With only two weeks before we haul our minds are now on getting the boat ready to leave for months and months. We're trying to get final coats of varnish on with the hopes that it will stand the blistering sun - without blistering. Pam has been designing covers that will hopefully protect the teak from most of the direct sunlight. We will need to have someone from the yard check them now and then to make sure the wind hasn't blown them all a-kilter.

The weather gods have given us 3 days in a row of decent wind and direction so tomorrow we will head to Les Saintes, Saturday to Deshaies, and Sunday to Antigua. We'll spend a week around Jolly Harbour getting laundry done and finishing up any varnish work.

Then we head up to North Sound to haul. As our haul-out date approaches we seem to be accelerating to Antigua... like the horses returning to the barn!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bye Bye Sainte-Anne

My solo trip over to Sainte-Anne from Rodney Bay was uneventful and I got to spend the week exploring Sainte-Anne and Le Marin with Gary and Donna from Page One. Had some nice French lunches, a great feed of ribs and enjoyed the fresh baquettes with cheese and wine.

It was cool to see fellow members of the Rodney Bay Bachelors' Club, Bob and Jeff from Chemaya pull in a day or so later. Bob was across from me on the dock in Rodney Bay. He is taking his boat back to Florida and was having trouble with his steering. He was afraid that he was going to have to haul the boat to get the work done so he was thrilled when he found it was just a seized bearing that they could fix. So we got a chance to have several more adult beverages before they headed off north.

Of course the highlight was on Sunday when a van pulled up to the park where I was sitting and delivered Pam! Yay!!! Jubilation!!! She reported to me that all kids and grandkids passed her inspection and everything is peachy on the home front. So now it was time to put me to the test. The boat was relatively clean and the varnish is shining. I think I'm OK.

Pam had friends over while she was home. Didn't want them to miss me!
Dinghy dock in Le Marin

Just kiddin'

Sainte-Anne beach

Lunch from the Boulangerie

Diamond Rock

Lunch in Sainte Pierre

Yumm! Accras de Morue
Ed and Ann on Windswept Dreams pulled in the day before we were going to leave so now we will have travelling buddies on our trip back up to Antigua. We have 3 weeks before we haul so we will spend 10 days cruising up through the islands and 10 days getting the boat ready for storage at North Sound.

Heading north to Dominica tomorrow!!! See you there.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Time for a Change

Hello Faithful Reader!

I've been at the dock in Rodney Bay for 3 weeks now and it's time for a change. I've done a world of boat jobs so I feel pretty good about that... but as I sit here the harbour sludge is building up on the bottom. Time to race through the water to clean it all off... over to Martinique where Pam flies in next weekend. Yay!!!

I like my own company but occasionally I get on my nerves and it's time to hang around with someone else.

I couldn't find anything that appealed to me for lunch on the boat so I thought I'd wander down to the restaurants to peruse the various menus. The closest I got to buying something was at the sushi place... but I wasn't hungry enough to pay the formidable prices... even though it is very good and artsy. I'll wait 'til I get back home to fill up on sushi.

Started back to the boat and ran into my fruit lady. I was low on fruit so I picked up some grapefruit, passion fruit and bananas. She has a bunch of bottles filled up with herbs and twigs and stuff. The idea is that you buy some of the local rum/poison and drink it as a tonic. Each time I look at it she tells me it is good for my "willie" and offers me a taste. I think she likes me.

Didn't notice the special soaps until I took this photo

Just add kick-a-poo joy juice

Fruit Lady

She had some aubergines and I asked her how she prepared them. She said slice, egg batter, bread crumbs if you like and fry them up.

So I did...

Aubergine/eggplant

Sliced

Soon to be egg batter

Panko and pepper

Looking good!


Fry 'em up

Enjoy
So... you can put lime, salt and hot sauce on anything and it tastes good. I'm not sure that I will waste my time on the aubergine next time.

So there is another thing, like zip-lining, that I never need to do again.

Off tomorrow. See you in Sainte-Anne!

Ready to go!
Page One getting ready for the trip over to Sainte-Anne

Gary seizing the halyard shackle in place