HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR WHIRLWIND TRIP THROUGH THE LEEWARD ISLANDS—Part 3 of 6—Antiqua—March 28 to April 3:
We limped into Jolly Harbour at around 10:00 am with our topping lift (sailors will know what I’m talking about. All that non-sailors need to know is that it is a long line that runs from the top of the mast down to where it attaches to the boom) swinging and bouncing, freely behind and all around Nancy Lu as we rolled back and forth on the swells and waves! A couple of kind fellow sailors pointed it out to us as we motored into the harbour to dock at Customs and Immigration. Yes, thank you, we knew, but we would deal with it easily when we stopped, instead of trying to catch it with, I-don’t-know-what (a boat hook, maybe?). We would have been like a cat trying to catch a string that an evil person dangled wildly, way out of reach and simultaneously thread it through a needle—why bother (except for the stares)? We had bigger problems. Here’s the back story:
Our approx. 70 mile trip from St. Barth.’s was an overnight one. We left in less than ideal conditions with the winds being higher than we would like (but not by much) for beating to windward. We made the decision to go because we really needed to continue on through the leeward islands to make it to St. Lucia for my flight home. We knew it would be uncomfortable, but we’re tough, right?! We planned to do our usual watches—Mark on until around 1:30 a.m., and me on until around 6:30 a.m. Well, around 3:00am our hydraulic backstay adjuster broke (sailors will know what I’m talking about. All that non-sailors need to know is that this part keeps tension on the long, twisted-together-wires that run from the back deck of the boat up to the mast and help keep the mast in place—like from falling forward!). Yeah, it was not good! Well, Captain Mark, who had actually never gone on to bed, rigged up a couple of things to temporarily stabilize the situation. We already had one running backstay rigged up on the port side (for non-sailors, just skim through all this) and he rigged up the one on the starboard side, as well. He also disconnected the topping lift from the boom and connected it with a soft shackle, which he had recently made, to the back deck (essentially, making a temporary backstay). Unfortunately, after a couple of hours the soft shackle broke from all the friction being applied to it. We just had to hope that the other temporary fixes held. I helped him with all this rigging, but he was the one up on the deck, out of the safe cockpit, in the pelting waves that Nancy Lu was crashing through. Do you get the picture of how undesirable going to windward can be? The temporary fixes done by my capable Captain Mark, other than the topping lift, held, and there we were limping into Jolly Harbor that morning, having learned our lesson about going directly windward in any wind over 15 knots! Come to find out, the hydraulic backstay broke because it was just at the end of its life—not from the beating it was taking. But still, who wants to bash into those waves? Right?!
We got ourselves and Timmy checked into Antigua (pronounced: An-tee-gah), moored in the harbour on a Jolly Harbour Marina mooring, and everything put back right. That afternoon, we enjoyed a delicious, well deserved hamburger at a close-by restaurant. We were in bed by 5:30 pm!
OTHER HAPPENINGS IN ANTIGUA:
1) We dinghied our laundry to Burton’s to be washed, dried and folded (there is no self-service available near the marina) with next day service…got it back smelling slightly soured 4 days later!
I enjoyed the pool at the marina!
3) I continued to study the Catholic Catechism and work on my French
4) We found out that Amy passed the entrance exam to get into nursing school—PROUD! She’s feeling happy that plans for her life are coming together!
5) We had a nice Italian dinner out at Malini’s on a rainy evening!
6) We enjoyed taking a bus to what is like NYC’s Grand Central Station in the Capitol City of Antigua.
The place was hustling and bustling. From there we caught the next bus/van to English Harbour where
we toured the only working dockyard from the British colonial times, Nelson’s Dockyard.
We had a connection provided by our friends, Chuck and Micki. As soon as we got there, we asked where we could find Anne Marie Martin, the National Parks Commissioner. More importantly, to us, she is involved in Chuck and Micki’s ministry, Caribbean Bible Study, International (CBSI). Her husband, Ted, was the first CBSI Teaching Leader in the Caribbean! The group in Antigua is still going strong well over a decade later! Also, Chuck and Micki are Anne Marie’s and Ted’s, now grown, child’s godparents! It is so much fun to meet brothers and sisters in Christ during our travels!
Nelson’s Dockyard National Park, was beautiful and interesting. We’ll come back next year and explore it more in-depth. We enjoyed what we saw of it this year.
I especially liked watching the school kids having races on the manicured grounds during their field trip.
While we enjoyed a smoothie on the grounds, the waiter asked us if we’d seen the man dressed in white walking down the dock. Unfortunately, we had not paid attention and missed a sighting of Pete Townsend walking to his yacht–! We saw his yacht, though. We look forward to anchoring here at English Harbour or at nearby Falmouth Harbour instead of Jolly Harbour next year!
7) On the way back from Nelson’s Dockyard, we stopped at Antigua Rigging to pick up our fixed backstay adjuster!
They were excellent to work with! I got a kick out of the signage!
Next stop, Guadeloupe…where we pick up a little more speed!