Friday, March 23, 2007

We're baaack.

The last of our scheduled company has departed for chillier climes, and we're walking around naked, tidying up, reading the newspapers and magazines they brought, and farting at will.

You CAN fit four people in a space meant for about 1.3 people, and the dynamics can be interesting. I'm hoping to publish guest blogs from Gord and Marj and Rich and Sheena in the next few days, and then you'll really find out what cruising on Nancy Dawson is like. Are we antisocial? Not the good cooks that we think we are? Sloppy and smelly? Gassy and boring? Erudite and entertaining? I'm waiting with as much anticipation as y'all are to find out what other people think of this travelling circus. All I can say is that we enjoyed some terrific meals aboard and ashore, some conversation that wasn't about boats, some terrific cribbage marathons, and a variety of splendid boat treats (we have a new bbq that actually lives up to its name thanks to Rich and Sheena).

We're still hanging out in St. Martin, in Marigot, and looking to head back to Antigua. We've confirmed that we have a spot reserved to haul the boat at Jolly Harbour, so we'll spend a few weeks sorting out the boat, buying plane tickets, and then we'll be HOME! (for a while)

Monday, March 12, 2007

This cruising life is just so busy, I haven't had time to update. The last couple of weeks are a bit of a blur.
We had a great visit with my son Tom and his girlfriend Haley. I got to be "mum" again and feed him copious quantities of food (he's a bit skinny I thought) and we managed to find a few lovely beaches in Antigua for swimming and shelling. The snorkelling was a disappointment -- lots of wind left the bays pretty murky. We did see the volcano on Monserrat blowing smoke and steam, with ash flowing down the sides, and if an active volcano wasn't enough, the kids saw their first green flash at sunset that day.

The week passed too quickly, and suddenly, two nicely tanned young people were on their way to the airport from Jolly Harbour. I had an email from Tom the next day saying they were watching lots of TV in an airport hotel in Toronto -- grounded by snow.

We only had a couple of days to sail from Antigua to St. Martin to meet Gord and Marj, coming from Ottawa, but we hung around waiting for a FedEx delivery -- parts for our roller furler coming from Brazil. It was supposed to arrive on Monday, which it did, and the tracking system indicated that it was picked up, and from there, the lovely ladies at Antigua Yacht Services were stumped as to where it might have gone. It turned out to be one of those Caribbean hair-pulling days. Naturally, we couldn't find a payphone that worked anywhere in Jolly Harbour, but Bill, the manager of the Budget Marine store in Jolly Harbour is an aquaintance from Grenada days, and he let us us his phone to try to track it down. By this time, the package had been AWOL for several days, and Antigua Yacht Services was being useless. Do not try to do business with Antigua Yacht Services. We ended up taking the bus to St. John's -- about a 45 minute trip -- and went to the FedEx office there. "Oooo" the lady said, "At FedEx we NEVER tell the customer that we don't know where their package is." She got on the phone to Antigua Yacht Services, and all of a sudden, the light went on somewhere, and they tracked down the broker who had picked up the parcel, and assured us that it would be delivered to us wherever we were. But first!! we had to take another 45 minute dusty bus ride and sign a paper at Antigua Yacht Services in Falmouth. When he got a look at the paper, Randy was pretty sure he'd already signed the form the week before.

By the time we'd had lunch, the parcel had arrived from wherever it had been secreted, and we took the long dusty bus trip back to the boat in Jolly Harbour. Sometimes, we really miss being in a place where things work the way they're supposed to work most of the time. Bill told us to picture trying to run a business in a country where nothing runs efficiently. He was looking pretty frustrated himself. He can't even get his employees to show up for work on time.

We did managed to get to St. Martin in time for Gord and Marj's arrival. Left Jolly Harbour at about 4 am, and sailed to St. Barts -- 75 miles -- overnight at Anse de Colombier, then a 20 mile hop across to Marigot in the morning. We had a great week, and Gord took hundreds of pictures and has promised a "guest blog" sometime this week.

In the meantime, we're cleaning the boat and getting ready for Rich and Sheena to arrive from Halifax!

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