Friday 23 November - Tuesday 4 December
We are under way by noon for a short sail over to Iles de Saints, Guadeloupe and are moored off Terre de Haut by 3. Steve & George go to clear in, a nice afternoon swim before showers and into dinner. George had asked for a recommendation from the customs guy then took a walk to find the place to make reservations. It was a great place called Les Petits Saints and we all had wonderful meals. Saturday Jan & George went in early to the veggie market and we passed them as we were going in, me to browse the stores so Jan climbed into our dinghy too come with me. Steve went to market while Jan & I had a few hours to shop. The French shops are so much fun to look through!! Steve comes back to pick us up at noon when all the stores close for lunch. We go back to our boats for lunch and another swim. Dinner Saturday night at Les Amandiers NOT as good a choice as only 2 out of 4 meals were okay and setting not as nice either. A pleasant evening for a stroll through town. Sunday we are under way by 7 to head to Deshaies on the north west end of Guadeloupe. We have a great sail across the channel towards the main land hitting 10.6 knots surfing down a wave in a 26 knot wind gust. Then just north of the capital Basse Terre the winds die, soon after we get the sail rolled up, the winds pick back up but now from the north west so we get to sail on the opposite tack the rest of the way into Deshaies. We get anchored by 12:30 shortly before the heavy rains start. We get a few breaks in the rain, one we use to go into town to stretch our legs. Just after dark a charter catamaran comes in and picks up a locals private mooring next to us. They are too big to be on that mooring and too close, but we wait to see what will happen. Jan & George come over for another joint dinner, afterward the catamaran winds up moving after drifting almost onto our bow between their hulls. Luckily even though they were French, they spoke good English and understood to move. Monday we are under way by 7 as we both have long trips ahead of us. Ocean Star headed to Antigua and Jan & George on Wild Thing headed for Nevis & St Kitts. Winds & waves are greater then predicted so we have a fast and not so comfortable trip. Arriving at Jolly Harbour, Antigua Monday at noon after a "frisky" sail from Guadeloupe. We check in & get anchored and then wonder why the bilge pump keeps running so often. We'd taken quite a bit of water over the bow plus some heavy sprays that found their way into the companionway BUT not enough to have the bilge pump running. So we started looking and cleaning but it took us until Tuesday morning to find the leak, which turned out to be a cracked through hull fitting, between the hull and shutoff valves. It was small, only about 4 liters/hr, but we were concerned it could become much worse on a beat to St. Martin, so we opted for a quick haul out Tuesday to replace the fitting. It broke in half with just a minor amount of effort once we were hauled,so we were quite glad we had the haul out. Then as boat maintenance in paradise works things snowballed, Steve decided to replace the zincs, even though the old ones looked pretty good, just because it was easy. But a check of the shaft revealed the cutless bearing had to be replaced. The easiest way to do that was to remove the prop, which turned out to be not easy at all because of one frozen bolt. We ran over our quick haul sling time and had to be blocked and chocked in the yard to finish. The prop finally came off around 5, too late to finish for the day. Plus a crack was found in the rudder that needs to be ground down and fiber glassed. An expensive day. It took another two days plus the weekend to finish repairs. On the plus side, Budget Marine & Laundry are right here in the yard & it's a nice view despite the mosquitoes!! and it is a short walk to the stores and restaurants. Yes we still love this life. Wednesday the prop job gets finished and the rudder started. I get the laundry done (small load as this is one of the more expensive places) and work on the blog (still w/o letters E,R,D,X) NOT easy typing! Steve changes the zincs on the bow thruster and gets the generator pulley back to re-install. Oh that G word again, forgot to mention we had to have the generator worked on again. The pulley we had made in Grenada, while a great idea was not done with the best material so we had it upgraded and it is now working great again (for now/knock wood). The marina put us in touch with a very nice young man, Anthony Duncan(720-6884) who came out to look at my keyboard. Steve had opened the back up and just shaking it, got the keys to wok ONCE more, but then they stopped again. Anthony took the keyboard out and cleaned the connections but informed me on Thursday when he brought it back that those letters still won't work, so I am using the on screen keyboard for the letters E,R,D,X & now #'s 4&5. Thursday morning Steve got a little panicked when Tony, the guy doing our rudder repair did not show up, and did not answer his phone. Long story short, he had told several “others” he had to do something else in the morning and would be at the yard after lunch. Would have saved Steve some aggravation if he had told us, but he finally showed up an continued the job. Friday morning the rudder gets primed & painted and we get launched back into the water at 11. Quick stop at the fuel dock and store and we head out and over to the next bay, Five Islands Harbour and are anchored by 2 for a late lunch. It feels so good to be back at anchor we have a nice breeze that helps chase some of the mosquitoes away, but I am still tying to hunt them down and kill them Friday night. Saturday we are under way by 7:30 and have a nice sail up to Barbuda. This is our fist time here, and we are reminded why we love this life so much. The thrill of seeing some place new, coming into a beautiful anchorage makes it easy to forget the frustrations of things breaking and making repairs or finding someone to do the repairs. We are anchored by 12:30 with 4 other boats along 11 miles of white sand beach in turquoise water. Barbuda is a a good size island, about ½ the size of its sister nation island Antigua, BUT with only 2000 inhabitants compared to Antigua’s 80,000. One main village of Codrington, with a HUGE lagoon about 5 miles long & 2 wide BUT NO access for big boats. It is mostly miles & miles of white sand beaches and a lot of coal reefs. It is flat & limestone like the Bahamas with shallow waters, the sandy bottom making it hard to determine depth. Shortly after we have anchored, using the binoculars I see the next boat up from us is S/V Toodles, friends we met down in Grenada Kate & Gary. Call them on the VHF to say hi, and they are going on the frigate bird sanctuary tour at 1:30. By now it is 1 so we eat a fast lunch and meet them on the beach. They have a HUGE frigate bird rookery on Barbuda, and our timing is good as this is mating season so we get a good show of the males inflating their red pouch and making all kinds of noise to attract the female who does the choosing. The lagoon is also home to strange upside-down jellyfish that the bottom is covered with. Steve asked our guide, who is standing in the water barefoot, I guess they don't sting? Wrong !! they do but our guide (Solomon) said they the locals are used to it and use Vaseline to prevent the sting. I got the creeps just looking at them. The sanctuary is part of the lagoon and you can only go in with a guide, who also act as water taxi to take you over to town. If you have a small light weight dinghy (like our old one) you could carry it across the thin strip of land and use your own dinghy to cross the lagoon to town. After our frigate bird experience Kate & Gary go back to their boat but Steve & I use the guide to go across to town (NO WAY are we carrying our new dinghy across). Does not take long to walk through town, as it is a small quiet place. As mentioned in the guide books all the homes and businesses have fences around their yards. This is to keep the wild donkeys and deer out of their yards, and it is quite evident that they roam free as you must also watch where you step as you walk the streets. Back to the boat where Steve still has time to see if he can find out why the water-maker is not working which was discovered on our trip over from Antigua!!! We had been waiting to make water until the generator was repaired so did not realize it was not working until underway to Barbuda. Steve can't fix it so we are in conserve water mode, on an already low supply. Where is the rain when you want it ?! Sunday we have a relaxing day and just swim off the boat and take the dinghy over to a reef to go snorkeling. Barbuda is known for its good snorkeling but either due to the weather or maybe just this location the visibility is very poor. As I mentioned, this is a sandy bottom and this kind of sand gets stirred up and floats in the water greatly reducing visibility. The reef was a good size one and if we could have seen might have been fun, as it was we had a hard time maneuvering, all of a sudden you would come up to a high spot you could not swim over and have to find a way around it. It felt good just to be in the water! On the way back we stopped by the beach in front of us, where they are trying to sell some lots. Not sure about the selling part as our understanding is only Barbudians can own land on Barbuda. BUT can't think of a worse location if a hurricane came through and the sand fleas on this part of the beach were really really bad!! Monday we go over to "town" and rent bikes to ride across the island to the high spot, The Highlands, at 125 feet. This is a perfect island for bike riding nice and flat :) except if you take a wrong turn and go off road to a trail it can get a little bumpy. We make it to over to Two Foot Bay and the "caves" have a nice picnic lunch and some great views before riding back. There are 2 other main anchorages, one we could easily go to the other not but we have a water shortage situation and decide to cut our visit short and leave Tuesday 12/4 to sail over to St. Martin where we will add fix water-maker to our list of to do projects to do while there.
Link to pictures; https://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/GuadeloupeAntiguaBarbuda?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCNCzyeD0zqTKQg&feat=directlink