One foot on the ground
SETTING THE COURSE
It turns out that on arrival, as we switched on data roaming, our machines ate 1/2GB data and swallowed $50 of credit in 30 minutes. Readjusted settings and prepared for data detox. After checking charts, we nearly beat our PB for a disaster leaving shore (previously 35 seconds). Took off in supercharged, super sensitive dingy which spun 360 and J narrowly missed losing his head on bow of adjacent boat.
Survived and toured English Harbour. This was the English stronghold where Nelson was based as a Captain. At the time he was best friends with Prince William (crowned King William IV), William was later Nelson’s best man. The harbour’s lush vegetation, fort walls and pillars provide a wonderful glimpse of colonialism. In Nelson’s day each sailor was given a ‘tot’ (1/2 pint) of rum twice a day to stave off scurvy, although the lime it was mixed with was the better defence. Rations noted, see later.
Departed harbour and as soon as we cleared the headland we encountered a big swell. It dawned on us that perhaps those who thought we were crazy were right. This is not the Med. Decided to find our sea legs under motor. Navigated the headland avoiding coral reef with all compasses arguing about North. Even a working compass here has a variance of 14 degrees from true north (maybe Nelsons cannon balls?). Tuned into local radio (reggae) and poured rum. Quick swim with snorkel to exam keel and anchor. Understanding what is going on under the water is useful. Anchored in Mosquito Cove and took dingy into Jolly Harbour to ‘check out’ of the island and get provisions.
Found a pharmacy. Given prescription drugs over the counter without question. Next stop supermarket where shelves were filled with Waitrose branded goods. Back to boat and tried to cast fishing rod but got it all tangled. Dials reading no fuel and batteries needing charging, Risotto and chilled white on deck under stars. Fingers crossed anchor will hold through the night.
Restless night. Route plotting this morning. Problems with Digicel account means we are not currently connected by cell. Lyn is looking into it, but it could be that we are further off grid than planned. So if there isn't a post for a while it's probably because we have no connection.
Early start. Excellent & cheap valet parking service (Help Me Park) at Gatwick. Thank you Avios for a great flight - at last asking 'Do you take AMEX?' at every counter for the last few years paid off. Miranda scared herself to death watching The Shallows - a film about sharks. I revised my Yachtmaster theory with special focus on anchors.
Cab to English Harbour (see below). Bought basic provisions - everything imported and 3x Waitrose prices. Great staff at Dream Yacht Charter. Boarded BAIRD. Welcome pack of a bottle of rum and 6 cans of coke. Technical briefing. WiFi and local phones connected.
All going well so far.
Tomorrow morning Miranda and I will be catching a flight to Antigua where we will head to English Harbour to embark on a great adventure - circumnavigating the Leeward Islands on a bare boat charter. That means that between us we are in charge of everything on the boat. You can read the plan here.
We've been planning the trip over the last few months. We did a warm up earlier in the year in Croatia - and learnt a lot of lessons after making many mistakes. I have been trying to do my Yachtmaster theory but have struggled to find the time. Our bags are not yet packed, but the bed is covered in summer clothing. We have fishing rods, binoculars, sailing gloves, tickets and passports. We have a local SIM card (thanks Lyn) so you can contact us in many ways.
Most people we have told about the trip think we're a little crazy .. especially if they have heard stories of our last voyage. But we're excited, and looking forward to a great adventure. We're going to try and keep a daily log on this site .. if you're following us don't see anything here .. well there is an emergency number to call! All encouragement is welcome.