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Delightful December

With all the Dawg events dying down, and Guadalupe in turmoil, Mark and I decided we would wait for a good “weather window” (the right winds) to go to Barbuda. A different island, but the same country. (Change of scenery. No covid test needed.) We took off on our own, but knowing that a number of Dawgs had the same idea. Turns out there were about 12 Salty Dawgs anchored around the island, 9 of whom were where we were, and three others at the south end of the island. So, it wasn’t a quiet get-away, but it was still a change of scenery. Unlike Antigua, Barbuda is a flat island. In 2017 it was destroyed by either Hurricane Irma or Hurricane Maria (I can’t remember which of my relatives went through here). This formerly-pristine island has now been sold off in pieces and the once open beach now has large houses being built, 10 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week. I’m sure that by next year they won’t be such an eye-sore, but they are now, and the openness of the island is gone ☹.

These guys came down to the water to nibble on the salt on our dinghy

However, that did not stop us from having a good time. We still had sundowners, and three of the Dawgs there were Catamarans, so the parties tended to not be on Roxy for a change. We went to a restaurant for an expensive lunch, we had Caribbean lobsters, and we had an afternoon of Halyard Jumping. (For the non-sailors here, a halyard is a line (rope) that takes a sail up the mast.) For Halyard Jumping, a loop or handle is tied to a halyard about “head high” and the loose end of the halyard is fastened to a dinghy. The “jumper” (there is no jumping involved) holds on to the loop and the dinghy drives away from the boat, pulling the “jumper” up and away from the boat. When your hands give out you let go and fall into the water. It’s kind of like jumping off a low cliff, without the rocks.

Most of our guests were from the boat Alisara. This boat is home to a lovely family of Brits including 8-year-old Alice and 10-year-old Arthur. Alice has been reading to me and we have become nice friends. Arthur is an accomplished sailor of Opti’s in the Antigua Yacht Club’s sailing program. Their Mum, Hermione, won the Salty Dawg Thanksgiving Day Regatta, beating out Dad, Douglas. This is a game that we learned about 4 years ago, while we were sailing with UJamm’n and Aphrodite. Mark loves this game and any time there is a kid-boat he wants to organize it.

As we were leaving Barbuda to come back to Antigua Mark noticed that the windless (the motor that lifts the anchor) wasn’t behaving correctly. Well, maybe there is a flat spot. It’s probably nothing. Let me tell you, it’s never nothing. Anyway, we anchored in Jolly Harbour and all was fine. Then another boat anchored behind us. No problem. Then the wind picked up and we wanted to let out more anchor chain, but couldn’t (because of the boat behind us), so we decided to up-anchor and move forward just a bit. Well, the windlass didn’t act right. Soooooo… (you guess! Right, more boat repairs) Mark knew he had to address the issue or we would be hauling up 120 feet of chain and a 150-pound anchor by hand. So yesterday (Saturday) Mark spent 3 hours working to get the motor off of where it is bolted to the deck. Today (Sunday) he spent three hours getting the two halves of the motor housing to come apart so he could get inside. Ta Da!! As he had suspected, the brushes in the electric motor were worn out. Tomorrow he will go to “town” (St. Johns, Antigua) and try to buy new brushes and then fix the motor. With any luck (ha!) we will be all together again by noon Monday.

Mark in a non-uncommon position

Update – Mark had it fixed on Monday, but not by noon. And on Wednesday we took a brief weather window and sailed to Falmouth and reunited with folks there.

With the holiday season in full swing, we had Hanukkah parties, lots of sundowners, and were looking forward to the annul Christmas Champagne Party in English Harbour and were devastated when the Minister of Health decided to forbid any fetes this season, and the party is, indeed, a fete. So much for that great fun. BUT!! You can’t keep a good Dawg down, so a Champagne Dinghy Drift was quickly scheduled for Christmas afternoon.

The frivolity will not end there, after the Orange Bowl and fireworks on New Years’ Eve, we will be enjoying a Progressive Cocktail Party on New Years’ Day. Always busy. We hope that you’ve had a warm and wonderful holiday season and that 2022 finds you and your family happy and healthy.

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