Sunday, May 30, 2010

A few photos to catch up. Bird beach outside Jolly Harbour. Couldn't land the rowboat at this beach - it was overrun with nesting terns, laughing gulls and pelicans. They did not wish to be disturbed.

Pre-haul, Sue gets to disconnect the wind generator and the triatic stay. And thus, earns another pair of shoes. (There's got to be some reason to smile when you're dangling above the mizzen spreaders trying to stop those whizzing blades in 15 knots of breeze.)

Jolly Harbour Hot Wheels, with Michellio Andretti at the wheel.

First order of business in Toronto is getting to know Gus, my daughter's new puppy.

Now we're back in Nova Scotia, and we've started work on our house. Updates to follow. Really glad to be back on terra firma. Black flies are gone? and haven't picked up a tick yet. I should leave the house at some point.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Apropos of my last whine about spa days afloat, my friend Susan B has provided a perfect illustration. (She's back on land, with her blowdryer. And a martini. Looking good.)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

This is what we did last weekend - drove to town with friends for a couple of beers at the Backyard. Saturday afternoon again (and my back is feeling much better - I'm really too brittle to drive that far in the back of a truck), and we're hanging about getting ready to haul on Wednesday morning.

This is the in-between time, transition time, when, if you have energy and motivation, you clear out drawers, varnish obscure bits and bobs, sort, organize, disinfect, tidy, morning til night, and then when haul day dawns, you've nothing to do but shinny up the mast, disconnect the triatic stay, pop the masts out, and pass the brownies around to the guys in the boatyard.

If you find energy and motivation lacking, you spend these days procrastinating, you read the tackier books that have been languishing, you eat the stale cookies, you sigh and check your facebook again.

Yesterday, I'm thinking, it's time for a "me" day. I had a shower ashore at the marina on Wednesday, went to the dentist on Thursday, and now, a bit more personal maintenance. Ha. Michelle and I had a drink yesterday, and had a good laugh about what constitutes a "spa" day for cruising women.

Thought I'd redo the polish on my toes - aha, pedicure, you're thinking - soaking my feet was accomplished while I bailed the rainwater out of the rowboat. I'd maybe been thinking of a yoghurt facial if that last tub of plain yoghurt wasn't green and furry, but it was gone, so Randy ate it or threw it out. I didn't ask, because I didn't want to know. My only alternative for a real treat was another shower ashore at the marina. My hair fluffs (fries) dry on the way back in the dinghy. I look like one of those women that people murmur about ....she's let herself "go.'"

I have been clearing things up and cleaning things out and chucking (and eating stale cookies). Can't wait to haul the boat and get to the villa and re-aquaint myself with my blowdryer and the washing machine. The laundry hamper is starting to talk back.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Marjorie D is now a sailboat as well as my rowboat. Randy finally got her rigged - it was a bit complicated, building a rudder and centreboard, fitting a mast made of bamboo from Dominica and a sprit made of a dowel from the USVI, and introducing words like "gudgeons and pintles" into my vocabulary - and on her inaugural sail, she moved along very nicely in a very light breeze.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Seabirds have taken over my shell beach in Jolly Harbour. Lots of seabirds.

Seagulls in Nova Scotia are ubiquitous - big, white, soaring elegant birds, with a haunting call - part and parcel of the mystery of what makes living by the sea just so darn romantic and fraught with "mood." "Shit-hawks," Randy calls them, or sometimes "Air Rats." Part of growing up in a fishing village I assume. Somehow the romance is lost...He doesn't understand "fog" and "beach" as a romantic combination either.

Springtime in Antigua is Laughing Gull central. Small, pretty gulls with black heads, white bodies and gray wings. Noisy. Just now, there's a lot of them, and a lot of small terns and they fish all together in the bay with the pelicans and the frigate birds. And the osprey, a few white-cheeked pintail ducks, green herons, night herons, egrets, and the occasional kingfisher.

But it's not just a bunch of seabirds diving. The giant, prehistoric-looking frigate birds don't actually hit the water or land or dive. They wait until some other bird has a fish, and then they harrass it in the air until the poor bird drops the fish or barfs it back up again. Charming.

But the Laughing Gulls are even more irritating. They target a pelican. Dog it until it dives for a fish. Land on its HEAD and scream while trying to grab whatever is sticking out of its beak. I watched a pair this morning close to the beach. The pelican dove, got a mouthful of fish, a gull lands on his head, and the pelican wouldn't play, just kept his beak buried in the water up to the eyeballs. After a bit, during which time you could just see him thinking "screw you little buddy," he did a quick 360 turn in the water so the gull had to jump around a bit to stay on his back, and when the time was right, he upped his beak, swallowed his catch, dumped the gull and flew off. I wonder that the pelicans don't try to snap the heads off the gulls. Size-wise, it would be the equivalent of having a screaming four-year-old on your shoulders during dinner. That would make me snappy.

I suspect that the smaller shorebirds, of the tern and plovery kinds, are getting ready to nest on the beach. The beach is loaded with the tracks of large lizards in the mornings, and there's a couple of regular dog-walkers, so it's pretty amazing that they keep coming back to this beach and more amazing still that they reproduce. Last year, I found a clutch of three eggs in a small depression just above the water line. Same colour as the rocks and the sand, very pretty, wreathed around with a few strands of dried turtle grass, for comfort? for camouflage? I was so relieved that I hadn't squashed them flat with my bare feet. Bad karma. This is why I saunter around on beaches like some sort of slow sloth. I'm looking out for eggs.

More wildlife. We have a turtle in our neighbourhood. It surfaces about every 5 minutes or so, takes a gulp of air, and gone.

This is why we spend so much of the day parked in Nancy Dawson's big old cockpit under the awning, binoculars at hand. Oh god, we're birdwatching. Twitching! Time to come home!

Less than two weeks until we haul. See below for new pics.

One of the little jobs for SB: scrape, sand, varnish, paint in between all those little strips.

Montserrat, still chugging out smoke and gas and ash. Not closing any airports, but it makes for an interesting view from Antigua.

Jersey Girls at the Tea Party. Rosie and Lucyna.

Juerg and Diane on ND (hard act to follow all the great meals at Juerg's)

Bit of a squall off the beach at Jollywood.

An entire Jersey crowd - three couples from the Channel Islands on board simultaneously. Some party!

sea grapes

(another!) totally charming Susan B.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Doesn't this look like a lovely place to have lunch? Oh yes.

Michelle and I had another great day of shopping, sans sighing senior senors (ha, ha, what a riot I am), and mid-way between fabric shops, dollar stores, shoes, belts, pillows, we like to stop at Bambula for lunch. Pink wine and excellent gazpacho for me, and caesar salad and a glass of red for M. (We have different stuff every time, but it's always delicious.)Thus fortified, we continue on our retail tour of Antigua. Then the market, then haul all our stuff on the bus, then the dinghy trip back to the boat. So you see why a really nice lunch is important. Go there. It's on Lower High Street, look carefully for the alley and the sign. The ladies are lovely.

More blog to come soon. 18 sleeps until we haul the boat.

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