Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Heading North for Christmas

February 18th 2015

Position 17° 01.078’ N
               61° 46.370’ W

This map shows where we spent the Christmas Holidays.

Partners at Peake's

After our haul-out we were able to go back to Crews Inn for a few days. Our friends Steve and Ann on s/v ‘Receta’ had retained a slip there but were on the hard for a few days having their engine transmission repaired so kindly let us use their slip. These two days enabled us to check over all the systems, get a few last minute provisions before embarking on a non-stop 238nm passage to Le Marin, Martinique. Our plan was to stop only briefly in Martinique to buy some of those ‘hard to do without’ French food items and, of course, some French wine! We wanted to arrive in Antigua, where we had planned to spend the Christmas Holidays, in plenty of time to get into the festive spirit ready for the holidays. The plan worked! Another good weather window presented itself and off we went, it was Thanksgiving Day Nov 27th. All our friends had planned to have a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner but unfortunately the weather window took priority, it is difficult, in the winter months, to find a three day window to make a long passage. The only recurring ‘event’ we experienced during the passage had us stopping several times to remove the Sargasso weed which had collected in clumps on our stabilizer fins. The weed this year was particularly bad and ‘fields’ of it were everywhere. We had to stop the boat and reverse so the weed would float off the fins. We arrived in Antigua in plenty of time to anchor at Jolly Harbour, say hi to our friends Gail and Eric on m/v ‘Vikings Dream’ and Rick and Susan on m/v 'Just Cause
Our breakfast companion.
Looking for scraps!
’ who were already there and then proceed on to clear in at Customs and Immigration. We finished in good time for us to return to the anchorage and enjoy sundowners with Eric and Gail before turning in for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. The next day s/v ‘Aeeshah’ showed up with our good friends John and Jen Howarth on
board…guess what? Another good night was had by all.

Within a few days we all headed round to Falmouth Harbour where we anchored and became quickly dazzled by the glitz of the many Super Yachts that were there. Without exaggeration 30 must have occupied the marinas! Several of them were in the 300’ range and two were more, Le Grande Bleu at 371’ was the largest. The amazing thing here was that she had a 70’ sailing boat cradled on her port side aft deck! More

friends arrived, Les on s/v ‘Golightly’, Ron and Jackie on s/v ‘Desperado’, Rob and Rhian on s/v ‘Beyzano’ and Gavin and Mandy on s/v ‘Secret Smile’ all in all we totalled 18. We reserved a large table at ‘Life on the Corner’, a nice restaurant where we would all gather for Christmas Dinner. Leading up to Christmas there were cocktail get-togethers on every boat, the standout to me was John and Jen’s rum punch…a knock out, not a pun, it was! We had the best Christmas, carol singing on m/v ‘Vikings Dream’ with Eric on guitar and Gavin on sax and clarinet, fabulous evenings onboard each of our boats enjoying snacks and libations. Rob and Rhian invited us to a champagne/mimosa reception on-board Beyzano Christmas morning which was a     

Some of the beautiful super yachts we saw in Antigua.
great start to the day. At lunch time our gang visited Nelsons Dockyard for the traditional and famed champagne reception. It is a charity event hosted by the Dockyard every year and everyone was there. What a festive gathering and a perfect event to get everyone in the mood for our wonderful traditional English style Christmas Dinner at ‘Life on the Corner’ that evening, a superb dinner it was and topped off, what for us, was a memorable Christmas Holiday! We managed to cram in some
s/v Aeeshah
sightseeing too visiting Nelsons Dockyard several times and an evening at Shirley Heights. We loved Antigua and will return for an extended stay in April for the ‘Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta’.

On Boxing Day we left Antigua and all our friends to make passage for St. Thomas, USVI. We had a good trip without event, 33 hours later we arrived safely without ado. We were quickly reminded of the fact that St, Thomas is the place to stock up with booze, boy is it cheap! We anchored in the bay at Charlotte Amalie, the capital. We found out later that we had anchored right where the barge which was going to be used for the New Year’s Eve firework display was to be placed so were asked to move. We relocated to a different part of the bay close to friends Rick and Susan on m/v ‘Just Cause’. We spent several days socializing with them and had a good time. After cruising to Francis Bay on St. John, visiting Waterlemon Cay and seeing Janice and Steve on-board s/v ‘Sailacious’ we cruised back to St. Thomas and visited Christmas Cove at Great St. James island for a couple of nights. Christmas Cove has a Pizza boat owned and operated by a young couple from the States. Of course we sampled the pizza, it was good! We also met friends Rene and Stacey from s/v ‘Pipe Muh Bligh’ back in Charlotte Amalie and shared some time together watching the US Football playoffs in Hooters! Stacey is from Seattle so she was supporting the Seahawks who won! We had a great time and some ‘hot’ wings!  

Having spent a couple of weeks cruising the USVI’s we departed for Culebra where we would await the arrival of our good friends Bill and Ann on m/v ‘Ann Louise’ their 58’ Kadey Krogen. They arrived on the 25th January after a non-stop 1,000 nm trip from Stuart, FL. We had not seen them for near enough a year and a happy reunion ensued. Linda and Jim, Bills Uncle and Aunt were on board for the trip and what a super couple they were, the six of us had fun catching up and celebrating their successful trip. Rhian and Rob arrived soon after and joined the throng. Lavinia, who is known to like a game of dominos, was pleased to hear a suggestion from Rhian that we get together for a game. We had a great time with them and after dominos ended up enjoying a chili diner on Partners. Culebra is another favourite small island, it is perfect for cruisers with a couple of handy dinghy docks and all the shops one needs…a few bars, two small but well stocked grocery stores and a bakery, what more does one need. We spent two weeks anchored behind the reef at Dakity. It is our favourite spot, clear swimming water a great view directly out to sea looking over the reef, an unobstructed cooling breeze and flat calm water.  

We had reserved a berth in SunBay Marina, Fajardo, PR for the 6th February ready for our flight to Florida on the 10th. It is time for a ‘Medical Servicing’ visit, purely routine and we hope all will go well so we can be ‘cleared’ to cruise for another year or two… 
Hello Bill & Ann! m/v Ann Louise entering Ensenada Honda,
Culebra, PR


More when we return from Florida and begin our cruising back to Antigua for ‘Classic’ in April.

Here are few more pictures ....

The Pizza Boat in Christmas Cove,
St. Thomas

No shortage of Bloody Mary's to celebrate m/v 'Ann Louise'
with Bill & Ann on board.

This is what fish & chips looks like in the Caribbean!

HT gets really happy from time to time!