Wednesday, 5 June 2019

English Harbor, Antigua

While sailing from Brazil towards the Caribbean, we had been admiring the moon as she was getting fuller and fuller. What we didn’t realise at the time was that it was the first full moon following the northern spring equinox which meant Easter and, in our case, very bad timing! Although we arrived in Prickly Bay, Grenada already on the 19th of April, due to Easter holidays we had to wait until the 29th before our good boat Sarema would be hauled out at Carriacou Marine Ltd’s boat yard in Tyrell Bay. 

We had been there in 2005 and again in 2011 after which the place had undergone a facelift under new management. The boat yard now had a store, shower rooms, a laundry as well as a restaurant. To our delight, despite the facelift, as before there were a number of goats, big and small, roaming the yard, eating whatever edible trash they could find, and dozing underneath the boats.

While waiting for Sarema to be hauled out, we made a nostalgic tour from Tyrell Bay to Union Island, Tobaco Cays, and Sandy Island. The iguanas of Tobaco Cays seemed to be doing fine despite the dry season but, sadly, the corals in the reef protecting Tobaco Cays were not looking good at all. There were large areas where all the corals had died, and consequently most of the beautiful, colourful fish had disappeared. 

We had visited Sandy Island in 2005 when there were no more than remains of the island with only a few palm trees left due to Hurricane Ivan which had devastated the area the year before. During the past fifteen years, the island has gradually risen from the sea and has at least tripled its size compared to our previous visit. Although the island now had dozens of palm trees, here too the underwater world seemed to be suffering (from pollution, global warming??). 

In Carriacou, we only had just over a week to get Sarema ready before we had to sail to Martinique to welcome our children and grandchildren. The time was far too short to do any proper job on the boat but at least the hundreds of speed reducing barnacles were removed from the bottom, and the hull got a new coat of paint. The deck was not painted until the day before our family arrived when we were already in Le Marin, Martinique. Talk about hustle and bustle! On the 11th of May, everything was as ready as it could be to receive our new, eagerly awaited crew.

Time flies when you are having fun, and the two weeks our children and grandchildren stayed with us were gone far too quickly. When the children flew back to Finland, we too continued our homeward-bound voyage, first to Dominica and from there to Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe. We are now in Antigua and will sail from here to Barbuda, the last (ever!?) Caribbean island that we'll be visiting. 

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