Its true.. Sadly the days left in this season are down to the last few.
We would love to spend the last week we have here in Antigua enjoying the beaches, sun and fun. Unfortunately the work required to put a boat to bed for hurricane season is HUGE. Rhonda and I have been busting our asses every day crossing jobs off the the list. To make matters worse, the Saharan dust has arrived and is trapping in the heat and humidity. The other day its was almost summer in Grenada hot. It got to +33C with %70 humidity. Damn I sweat through my clothes multiple times that day.
Even with the mountain of work we are wading through, we have been trying to enjoy our last days of the season here. I have no idea why, but Antigua holds a special place in my heart. Its not the cheapest island. Its not the cleanest island. Its not the richest island. However there is just something about it. It feels like my home in the Caribbean. Its really one of the only other places in the world where I said “I could live here”!
We have been trying to spend at least a few hours each day going to land and “re-exploring” the places from months ago. Its amazing to see the kids faces as they arrive at places we have already explored, but have been changed by the months. There are moments of pure joy and moments of sadness as they miss the friends they explored with. (Avanti, Higgins, SeaSchells, Syrena, Macbeth). Sigh, that the thing about cruising life, its all about changes!
Please enjoy some pictures of the passage and our time here!
We leave St. Martin and 4 hours later we arrive in St. Barts and are treated to tons of Remora under our boat. They look like little sharks, but are very docile. They have a big sucker on top their heads and actually live their lives attached to big fish (usually sharks). These ones were so tame you could pet them!
Goodbye St. Barts. 76 nautical miles to Antigua. The plan was to drop off to Montserrat if we couldn’t get an angle on Antigua. Screw that, like the bad catamaran sailor I am I pinched the hell out of it. I can actually hear the monohull people roll their eyes, but I was able to eek 5.5 knots of speed at a %25 degree wind angle (20 knots of wind). However, once it dropped to %20 it was coal smoker time! We choose to burn some diesel and get to Antigua.
The seas were NOT pleasant.. Rhonda and the kids started to get seasick (so did I). Here Rhonda is laying in her customary spot. She caught me taking a picture and is trying to be modest by covering her bum!
First fish of the passage. Rhonda brings in a small Cuda. We probably could have eaten this one, but instead threw him back. (notice her wide stance and hand on the table. It was rough.)
The rod starts singing and the hand line clips pop.. The cockpit quickly turns into a bloody scene as we quickly hook 4 Tuna.
We reposition in Jolly after our night anchor drop. We resist the temptation to pull into our old spot so it feels a little different!
The boat work starts. Here are the kids cleaning out the back storage lockers. We use these lockers to store snorkel and swimming gear. Since they are open to the sea, they can start to smell like a dead seal if not cleaned regularly.
Although I believe in slave labor, sometimes the master needs to pitch in too. (I get pissed every time I see that Isotherm fridge in a picture. Front fell off, handle broke… Such a piece of shit)
That moment when I KNOW exactly why I married her. A case (only in Canada is that called a flat) of Banks. My favorite beer so far!
Ahh one of the rediscovered places. This was a fort the kids made in a cool tree next to the marina where Higgins was stored. They had kingdoms, sword fights, hero’s and even a few marriages here! They were so delighted to find it again, but sad to not be able to share it with their friends.
We have also restarted our Jolly Harbor fishing. Unfortunately this is one of our “bad” catches. We would never target a Ray, but this one took our bait and COMPLETELY swallowed our hook. As gruesome as it may seem, I’m cutting the gills to dispatch it as quickly as possible. In the end our hook was actually in its stomach and there would be no hope of saving it (the hook actually perforated its bowels and they were coming out the anus). As is the rule on our boat, “You catch it, you eat it”. We filleted it and did our best to eat it (it was not good). What we couldn’t eat we used for bait!
As I was typing this post, this big bugger hit our line (no I’m not making that up). Unfortunately this is a Horse Eyed Jack and the #1 on the Ciguatara hitlist. Eating this would almost guarantee us getting sick (in some cases for years). Oh well, he was fun to reel in, take pics and then let go! Usually these fish fight like hell, but this one didn’t fight too hard! (if you can’t read the tape measure he was between 24 and 25 inches. He weighed between 15-18lbs).