Thursday, April 21, 2016

So That's It Then

We are sitting at home, dipping our toes into our parallel life back here in Abbotsford.  So nice to be here... so lucky to have what we have.

It was a pretty good season with some pretty big adventures. Montserrat and Guadeloupe in November were awesome... our tour of the devastation from the volcano in Montserrat was spectacular.

Our "second period," using a hockey metaphor was up and down. "Up" on our connection with Quest as we traveled down to Dominica together and "Down" when we snapped our chain plates on the leg into Dominica.

The thing of it is, we had a great time in Dominica with our broken wings while we waited for good weather to head back home to Antigua. And we had a great time in Antigua while we figured out how to proceed.

During the second period intermission we replaced the chain plates. The third period brought us time with great friends... showing them all that we love about Antigua.

Bare poles

Water maker at North Sound - 750,000 gallons per day. Installing same one on Blue Pearl next year

Changing out the membranes

To the parking lot

What, here?

Bottom paint great... barnacles on the edges

We'll clean that up!

Murphy the dinghy going into storage - notice the cleaned up prop on Blue Pearl?
Pam reminds me that our year this year was highlighted by exploring new places and connecting with old cruising friends.

I've mentioned Montserrat but we also did some in-depth touring of Guadeloupe, Dominica and explored several new spots on Antigua. We reconnected with Quest, Serenity, Virtue and Vice, Aviva, Windswept Dreams, Aurora and others that I'll remember later. Lovely people enjoying the same passion for sailing around these beautiful Caribbean islands.

So another year of cruising has come to a close. We will spend a spectacular summer with family and friends in glorious Western Canada.  Lots of adventures in the next 6 or 7 months. We are so lucky!

And then... who knows? I wonder what next cruising season will bring?

Until then, Cheerio!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Just About Done

We are alongside the haul-out well at North Sound Marine. The AC is on and we are weathering the after-lunch heat of the day. Best thing to do... nap like Pam... or sit under a fan and blog.

We had a beautiful strip loin in the freezer that we were dying to eat. Pam made the rice/noodle concoction and when it was my turn to grill the steak to perfection... we ran out of gas. No self-respecting steak cooker uses a microwave... so we used the waffle iron.

Perfect!!! Although Pam was unusually mean and disrespectful as she went through the clean-up procedure.

New York Belgian Waffle steak.
We were doing non-urgent shutdown chores before we got here but still having fun visiting with friends and enjoying Antigua.

Quest (Sid and Cate) hauled last week. We were able to help a little bit but mostly take advantage of their condo near the Jolly Harbour haul facility.

Whoa - staying in here for a while!

It's the day before the day before haul-out. Let's celebrate!

Steak?  I like steak!!!

Quest, Aviva and Blue Pearl enjoying Jolly Harbour condo air conditioning.

Put to bed

Breakfast beers

Harry and Maryke from Holland - hauling soon, too.

On Thursday we had an absolutely super day with friends from a cruise ship.

It was my great privilege to work with Soraya in my last years in education. While I was there, she was the heart of the school academically and spiritually. She is on leave, and just happened to be in Antigua on our last day before getting ready to haul.

Picked them up in the morning and did a little tour from St. Johns down to Jolly Harbour. Then back to Deep Bay for a hike and a much needed "bob" in the bay. There is no wind right now and it is hot as blazes. The time flew by - as did the boat drinks and before we knew it... it was time to deposit them back at the boat.

Serenade of the Seas

Blue Pearl from the Fort Barrington look-out
Motley Crew


Bye - loved having you aboard
After our farewells we headed up to Davis Bay for the evening... arriving right at dusk... but since we know the place well it was not a concern to anchor in the fading light.

Lovely Davis Bay
Over the week end we've attacked the semi-urgent stuff... sails, canvas, liquor management... things like that.

All hell breaks loose tomorrow when we haul around noon.  In the scorching heat of the afternoon we need to flush the main engine with fresh water, knock a few barnacles off the bottom, clean the prop and all the other things that can't be done while we are in the water.

Chasing a wayward flip-flop in a motor-less Murphy

Folding the staysail

Changing the oil in Yan Diesel

High maintenance - I mean the varnish on the bowsprit.
We've heard of boats "sinking on the hard" when rain water finds its way into the boat and can't get out. Ugly mess. To prevent that, we need to create an opening down in the bilge for water to leave the boat in the unlikely event that it somehow floods. Can't do that while we are still in the water.

So we will haul, Pam will attack all the remaining tasks and I'll try to keep cool somewhere in the shade. Spending more and more time thinking about our parallel universe back home with kids, grandkids and friends!  Woop, woop!

More when we are out of here!


Friday, April 8, 2016

Well That was Fun!

Sometimes all the planning in the world can't beat spur-of-the-moment.

When Pam was at home, she mentioned off the cuff that Blue Pearl's chain plates were done sooner than we thought and why wouldn't my old buddies from Abby Senior days consider coming down for a short, sunny Antigua vacation... and they did.

All of the old comradery bubbled forward to the present and we spent a lot of time talking about how great the old days were and how rewarding it was to work together. We've each gone on to have satisfying careers but it was great to talk about the old days.

The "Team!"

When Jinder left, Deb and Pam joined us for 10 days on Blue Pearl and we enjoyed showing this lovely island to Deborah.  Started down in historic English and Falmouth Harbours, bobbed in front of the exclusive Carlisle Bay Hotel and then came up to Jolly Harbour for groceries at the wonderfully well-stocked Epicurean grocery store.

We enjoyed our excellent internet and bobbing at the Hermitage Bay Resort before heading up over the top to Great Bird Island in North Sound.

The snorkeling in Antigua hasn't been great so it was wonderful to find a place at Great Bird where there was an abundance of fish and coral. Not as good as the Bahamas but the best we've seen in a while.
Lots of snorkelers off the little island

Enjoying the vista
Davis Bay sunset

Had a nice visit to Deep Bay and then an evening back at Hermitage... and then all of a sudden they are gone.  Put George and Deb in a taxi for the airport this morning and came back to the boat.
And.... off they go!

We are now in transition mode. Winter on the boat is over. Time to deal with as many shutdown tasks as possible. Thank goodness Pam is here!

Sid and Cate are here putting Quest to bed so we will have time to talk over this past season and make plans for next. Looking forward to the next few days playing with them.

One of the wonderful teachers I worked with before retiring is going to be in Antigua next Thursday so we will arrange to pick her and her husband up and show them a bit of the magic! Photos to follow.

Then onto North Sound Marina to haul.

So... we are drawing to a close. Enjoying every minute here but finding myself starting to think about grandchildren, kids, home and all the good stuff our other life holds!

Cheers for now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

And... She's Back!

Yay! Pam's back. Thank goodness... finally start to do things right around here.

The girls arrived at the Breezeway in Falmouth by taxi after having a mini-tour of the island. The driver had to drop some other folks off at the Saint James club so they got to see a bit of the east and interior of the island.

Great to get back to normal. We are enjoying showing George and Deb our Antiguan lifestyle - which is basically loaf around 'til just before noon, do some minor activity, have lunch, beers, nap, afternoon bobbing, happy hour, dinner and bed.  Repeat.

They are leaving on Friday. We will visit with folks near Jolly Harbour and do some boat maintenance... getting ready for our transition back to our other life.

Visiting in Nelson's Dockyard

More Nelson's

Keeping hydrated

Lovely Carlisle Beach

Treasure hunting

Fish Market in St. John's

Visit to the museum


Ciao for now!