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March - a Month of Waiting

Two weeks in Jolly Harbor is more than enough. It was time to move. So, we sailed with Gary on Enroute to Green Island which is on the east side of Antigua. We are expecting very high winds this coming weekend so we are sweetly tucked in behind the island where we will be protected from the predicted 25 knot winds and 7 foot waves. There are three boats in Ricket’s Cove with us. During the day though the tour boats bring loads of tourists to swim and snorkel. Standing on the bow this morning you can smell the sunscreen. Meanwhile we took walks on Green Island, played dominos on Roxy, and snorkeled in the reefs.

But we can only stand so much of the peace and isolation of Green Island. Enroute and Roxy returned to Falmouth Harbour for a little re-provisioning and some dining out. Gary didn’t stay long, he sailed on the Jolly Harbor to haul out and return to North America. It’s still cold in Canada (where he is from) so he’s going to California and Arizona. Just as we thought we were going to be alone, Steve and Cindy on Flash sailed up from Guadeloupe. Never a dull moment. A little hiking, a little eating, a little drinking. I’ll tell you, cruising is tough.

Falmouth at Night

The spring is race season in the Caribbean and Antigua has about 5 weeks of races that bring sailors from all around the globe. In the beginning of March was the Caribbean 600. This race starts outside English Harbour and takes the racers 600 miles around Antigua, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, Anguilla, and Guadeloupe, before returning to English Harbour. This year there were 3 foiling trimarans. The fastest one set a new record and completed the course in about 39 hours. (When Roxy is going really fast, we go about 12 mph.) The next in the series is the Antigua Super Yacht Challenge. To be eligible to enter the race a boat has to be at least 100 feet long. The shortest of this year’s contestants was 102. The longest is 218. There were 5 races scheduled. The first one went all around Antigua and the next 4 were more traditional race courses with the boats sailing around buoys placed in various places. We were able to watch the starts of 3 of the races. These boats are massive. The winds were high enough that the third buoy race was called off. Unfortunately, this year’s challenge began with a tragedy. During a practice run a piece of equipment failed and exploded into bits, sending shrapnel everywhere. One bit hit one of the sailors in the head. His crew and the great rescue team in Falmouth rushed him to the hospital and the boat owner brought in a crack medical team for his care, but by Friday he had lost the fight. Before Sunday’s race the competitors lined up their boats and gave him a beautiful send off.

Then Cindy went to the States for her son’s wedding and Steve had a guest down, so we entertained them one night before they set sail to explore other anchorages around the island. The rest of March was pretty much a waiting game for us. Most of our friends have either continued south toward Trinidad (eventually) or started north toward their departure points for the U.S. this spring. Mark and I are okay alone for a few days, but then we start going bonkers. Without a hiking partner, Mark sits and moans about how lazy he has been and without Mark hiking I want to push him off the boat. Our rewards for being patient and sitting still for most of the month were coming soon though…

In December we ordered a new jib (that’s the sail at the bow [front] of the boat) because our old one was falling apart. It was originally expected mid-February but at the end of January I received an email telling us that it would be here mid-March. <Scowly face> Okay, so we wait. Mid-March came, no sail. “Where is it? “It will ship tomorrow and takes a week from then.” “soooo Late March?” “No worries.” “Maybe not for you …” A week later “Is it here? Is it here?” “Not yet.” “Where is it?” “Memphis. It will be here by Monday.” Monday: “Any news?” “Not yet.” Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, “Good news. It went to Miami yesterday and is arriving today. We will have it this afternoon.” “Actually, customs closed before our agent got there, so we will have it Friday morning.” Friday; “Not good news. The paperwork is here but the sail is not. “I don’t want the paperwork.” “ We don’t know where the sail is. Probably in Miami, but maybe in Memphis.” Screwed again.

By the way, Saturday morning we are leaving this harbor and going to Nonsuch Bay on the east side of the island for a week. Then we will return for ONE day so that we can check out and leave Antigua for the season. Still no jib.

But the best part of the month was still coming. On Sunday our daughter and her family are coming for vacation!!! So far there are no delays with this and things look promising. If this gets screwed up, I’m leaving the boat for good. I am so excited! And two of the kids are going to stay on Roxy while the rest of the family stays in a condo. It’s the best of both worlds for us. AND we have the family. I can’t wait.

I am happy to report that the visit was fantastic. The highlight of our year (so far). We showed them around English Harbour and Falmouth, had dinner (and enjoyed the steel drums) at Shirley Heights, played endless rounds of various games, we did tourist things that we never do, lazed on the beach and at their pool, and ate great food.

And check out the Worst Cirque de Soleil ever! As always, it was too quiet and boring when they left.

And our sail arrived in Falmouth while they were here! But that story will wait for April.

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