Thursday, March 29, 2012

In the mood for the blog

"A bear, no matter how hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise", unfortunately that's the only line I can remember of that particular A.A. Milne poem, but the gentleman in this picture knows the whole thing. Actually when we first met at an apre Middle Sea Raceparty in Malta he joined a small group of us, myself, a woman called Sarah whose married to John Ross; Malta's leading Yacht Surveyor, two men who had just completed the middle sea race; a stock broker and a banker and we all stood around reciting children's poetry. Clive Carrington Woods, an ex British Naval Captain, now Captain of a beautiful 'superyacht'.
We met again in Sint Maarten a couple of weeks ago, went out to dinner and had a really fun evening, and just to prove that he could I suppose, he got up in the morning and went out and bought this steed that he's riding. I suppose it takes some physical ability to stay on one of those things, so I suppose he's taking a leaf out of Pooh Bear's book and keeping up his exercise regime. We've actually seen Clive a couple of times since - once when we were on our way back to Antigua from Sint Maarten, he was passing us at a very sedate speed for his yacht and we had a chat on the radio. He told me off for not making him famous yet on my blog - so here you are Clive - in all of your fittest glory. Actually Tony was also at anchor close to you a couple of days ago at St. Kitts or maybe Nevis (we always call these islands Bevis and Butt Head - why? because we have infantile humour.) He has his hands full at the moment on a Sunsail charter so didn't make contact.
Which brings me to the fact that I am now at anchor back in English Harbour in a small part of the anchorage which we have claimed for ourselves - nobody else seems to want it anyway. We are anchored fore and aft so that the stern and thus the cockpit facing back to see over the top of the reef. So I'm sitting between a rock (rocks) and a hard place (a wrecked lifeboat). But knowing what a good job Tony did of making us secure before he left I'm very happy here. I really do not relish the prospect of having to pull both of these up and moving somewhere else with a gale blowing, but if I had to I suppose I'd figure it out. And it is actually blowing quite hard right now. Well I should say gusting. This morning started with heavy squally black clouds moving in which I'm happy to say brings rain, but am unhappy to say also bring very strong gusts which keep blowing me closer and closer to 'hard place', the sunken life boat. As there is quite alot of chain out fore and aft I can get blown sideways quite a bit and am sometimes about a boat length away from the lifeboat.
The water situation is not bad - we take jerry cans to the fuel dock and pay 10 EC's for 10 gallons and after it goes through our filters we drink it. It tastes alright when its freezing cold, but like mud when its not. But doesn't seem to make us sick. But I'm very proud of my water catcher which is spread out on the bow with a hose connected running straight into the starboard water tank after going through the top of a toilet plunger 'bulb' which closes off the filler opening to make sure nothing else gets in. So when we get alot of rain (and we've had deluges so far today) I'll have to lug less water in jerry cans.
Last week we delivered a Sunsail boat from Sint Maarten to Antigua along with many other skippers bringing charter boats from all of the charter companies that had them available. English Harbour was invaded by the Russians. An entrepreneurial Russian sailor started bringing friends over a few years ago to take part in a 'regatta' which started and finished in Antigua. They chartered about 40 boats in all, and had a helluva party at the end of it all. They basically took over most of English Harbour's common lawn area outside the famous Dockyard Hotel, put up a couple hundred tables, hired a band and wouldn't let anyone else in. We didn't know that they wouldn't let anyone else in, so being the sociable people we are, Tony and I and our new friends Dicky and Den went to the bar, ordered our drinks and just as we were about to pay for them we quite politely removed. Too bad about these Russians not wanting to mix with the outsiders. They could learn so much more about the rest of the world so much faster if open to us.
So we took ourselves off to a very cool little bar/cafe where the music was great, vid included - the gentleman on clarinet has been on my blog before - he's retired from the London Philharmonic Orchestra
videoThere's alot of good music in English Harbour. I suppose people always crave culture no matter where they are, so they find it or create it somehow.
Speaking of music, last night I had the great pleasure of listening to and watching my son Johnny play and sing 3 songs which he has learned since he's moved over to Ucluelet. Johnny has been a saxaphone player all through high school, which he says made it quite easy for him to teach himself guitar. I didn't even know my son had such a beautiful voice. If I can get him to record a video I'll put it on the blog to broaden my brag. Don't you just love skype. What a difference it has made to travellers. Without this contact with my kids I couldn't do it.
So it looks like we've added another Charter Company to our 'stable'. This company is very particular about how they operate their yachts so Tony and I will undergo a training charter starting in a couple of weeks. If it goes well and they approve us it looks like we will have secured work for the off season here and hopefully on a long term basis. A great relief to us as we definitely need to recoup funds - plus I gotta say that just bumming around on boats is getting a bit boring, with our budget anyway. Though Tony has had work I've not had enough outside of our boat and I'm a worker - it's a great motive for getting up each day.
Speaking of getting up each day - its amazing how early I always get up when Tony is not here - I suppose being in bed on ones own is just that - and if you've enough sleep not much point in being there. I'm not talking about sex, more like sharing a cozy nest - its a nest made for 2 not 1. So I've been up since about 5.45 and I've been answering e-mails, researching 'stuff' online, taking pictures to add to this blog - keeping the rain out, eating porridge, looking at what my kids are up to on facebook - they're all too busy to put anything on lately.
So - now I think I'll go and play with the fishes. I take my knife with me and snorkel around the wreck loosening off small oysters. The little fish follow me, or actually they follow my hands and viciously rip apart whatever I cut away. I don't cut away coral, just a few little oysters - lest you think I'm single handedly destroying this new eco system beside me.\
OK - enough.