Sunday, October 21, 2007

That's what our week looked like here in Jolly Harbour. I had one trip to the pool (aka, the Poo) and read all the rules before I had a swim in the heaviest downpour we've had since we got here. Otherwise, there's been little r&r. We did nearly bust our butts riding the villa bikes back and forth to the boat - note my inelegant solution - I tied a big hunk of foam on with my kerchief, but it didn't help much.

But we're in the water now, new address is "Far End of B Dock" and we'll be here for a week or more. Next job is to get the masts varnished and back in place, get the sails off of Tom's bunk (we still call it that Tom, although it looks more like the family garage most of the time), and get ready to move the boat again. The launch was relatively uneventful. The yard guys, Danny, Mario, Ray and Steven are great. Danny drives the tractor hauling all the boats, does most of it backwards, and all of the time with an audience, half of which is likely to be hollering directions at him. He just takes his time and hey, presto, you're in the water. Only a few leaks, but we shut off the sea cocks and went back to the villa for one more shower.

We're liveaboards again. Living in total chaos, but we did manage a champagne breakfast this morning to celebrate our return. The millions of ants also living aboard are keen on bacon grease. Who knew?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Made it out of Toronto. Thanks, Laur, for driving us to the airport. Picture us waiting in line to check in for the flight, watching a pathetic woman trying to move stuff out of her overstuffed, overweight luggage into her other overstuffed, not quite overweight luggage. Gawd. How uncool. Moments later, watch us move at great speed at we try to move stuff out of our overweight bag into our other overstuffed bags.

When we arrived in Antigua, we shared a cab with a couple about to take a week-long cruise on a catamaran. As we drove out of the fabulous airport area and into the normal countryside, she (Melanie Griffith collagen lips!) wanted to know where all the "beautiful houses" were. Driving by neighbourhoods, people's homes, churches, stores, and there's no recognition that this is a beautiful place. Not so good.

We've moved right into the Caribbean weight loss program. Sweat, work like a horse, carry stuff, walk, climb up and down the ladder, walk, walk, drink water, sweat, repeat. Today, Captain Noodle Arms faired up the bare naked hull (grinding off old layers of paint, $600, not having to do the horrible toxic work yourself, priceless, thank you Tindele), then painted the base coat, then the first coat of antifouling. Like I said, noodle arms. The mate has been scouring, washing, cutting in with the great red bottom paint (no Romantic Rasberry this time), and employing the washing machine at the villa. In the evening, I've been walking the best shell beach I've seen in ages - right at the end of our road.

Weird shell moment: tonight as we're watching TV (TV! Cable) at our rented villa at #409B Jolly Harbour, I see a bizarre giant bug climbing down from the top of the curtain. It was a hermit crab in a busted shell, big as a loony. Six feet above the floor, climbing down. Not even a shell I brought into the house, but a rogue hermit crab. Did he find out about the Fritos under the couch? How and why did he get UP the curtain?

The neighbourhood is lousy with mongeese. Mongooses? The concrete garbage bunker is just across from our villa, and they visit regularly. Like mink/rats/possums. Furry, skinny otters. Garbage eaters.

The villa comes with bikes, and they're a mixed blessing. We're both under-assed, and it's been years since either of us has been on a bike. The skills are not an issue, but after three days of riding the mile between here and the yard, our butts are so bruised that we had to take a day off today and walk. Never ride on a bruised butt with thirty pounds of groceries and wine in your back pack.

We're hoping to go back in the water on Friday, but before then, we're hoping to get a new paddle wheel for the knot meter. Part of it got ground off during the bottom cleaning. Hoping that the new part arrives before we go in the water.

It's really nice to be back, and getting re-acclimatized. We have a cell phone, and it took us two days to figure out how to turn it on. We're so connected! And it's nice to be warm again, albeit bruised and noodle-armed. Pooped. Pictures to follow in the next day or so.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Farewell to Nova Scotia. Farewell to Canada, come to think of it. The biggest drawback to this life is all the upheaval, all the goodbyes, all the bloody packing. If real sailors (Randy, in the olden days) spend 20 minutes jamming their stuff in a sea bag and then stroll out the door whistling with nary a backward glance, then I'm not a real sailor by a long shot. We had an eventful summer -- selling the house, moving to Port Maitland, and just a couple of days ago, my daughter Anna and her Andy got engaged! (email me for details!) We're thrilled for them. Wedding's not until 2009, so I don't have to get cranked up about that just yet.

We're flying back to Antigua tomorrow morning. I'll do a proper update when I get a chance to catch my breath -- probably after we get the boat in the water. Before then, we've got to sort out all the crap we jammed down below when we left, get the bottom painted, get the masts varnished, get all the systems up and running again, etc, etc. Cross your fingers that everything is hunky dory with Nancy Dawson in Jolly Harbour. See below for more photos of NS and Toronto - we had a visit with Sharon and Andrew from Paragon, and Kim and David from Amanzi too.

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