Friday, April 27, 2012

Antigua, Revisited

From: Dave Peoples
To: Dave
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2012 7:48 AM
Subject: Antigua Revisited April 15-April 27th

Antigua Revisited April 15-28th
It’s the second time around for us with Antigua.  As the date reflects we found we needed to file taxes and that required internet.  So we dropped anchor in Falmouth and stayed aboard for two days as we downloaded numbers and roughed out our tax forms.
In the meantime we kept hearing about the Antigua Classic Yachts Week Races that were starting soon.
They have what are known as “Red Hat” parties.  Mount Gay Rum sponsors them and for the price of  3 very heavy rum drinks you acquire a coupon for a classic red hat.  We earned 2 coupons the first night, one the next night which we traded for a t-shirt, and tonight scored two more coupons, however it is only one hat per person.  What they didn’t tell us up front about Classic Race Week is that every night there is FREE drinks, Free food, Free music and free parties…and so many of your cruiser friends to met and talk with that by the fourth or fifth night you are begging for a night of rest. The good news is our livers survived the abuse, and so did we.  Every night we are up pass 11 PM or midnight, but then we do get to sleep in until 9 AM.
Jo and Jack, on Bodacious, gave us the thrill of a lifetime!  One day they took a group of us out on their Krogen and we followed the race circuit with the racing yachts flying by us.  Some of the boats were 30 feet working boats, while others were world renowned racers and over 200 feet in length. How majestic they all looked, and the seamanship to shift sails, change sails, and stay aboard a boat with no lifelines while slanted at 25 degrees or more is an accomplishment only some can claim.  Dennis Conner was at the helm when our friend Tish was rounding a corner just ahead of him.  Tish held his course and Conner had to yield the advantage—not everyone gets that opportunity.  P.S.  Tish was so focused on the course he never realized who was coming up on him.  Dave could have crewed but chose to watch.  Our friend Tish, from Miclo III , and Hakan, from Unicorn, did race and hearing their stories at the end of each day made it up close and personal.  The Red Hats they earned look SO GOOD on them.
The best way to describe each night is it felt like we were at the best high school graduation party but it never ended.  There was time to talk and hang with friends that we had just past in a port or met on another boat.  Having 10 days together really helped you get to know each other on a deeper level, and having a land base supplying food and drink meant I haven’t done dishes in over a week!  We celebrated Mark's birthday,  had a ladies luncheon, had many dinners with friends on boats and on land, attended parties on the lawn with music going on through the night, and drank a soothing lemongrass, ginger lime rum drink called D'fever at Hamilton's. 
Walking the docks, seeing up close the boats designed to race, meeting the crews, captains, and owners in a leveled playing field was also a source of another great story or two.  Sunday was the Parade of boats and we dined at a waterfront restaurant which gave us front row seats of the festivities.  Both camera died from the amount of pictures we took.  Last night was another Red Hat party and we have more tickets to claim booty from Mount Gay Rum, the Red Hat distribution party is tonight. We will have to share that event with y’all later.
We had intended to stay here till April 17th but the romance of the race, the activities every day and night, the opportunity to be part of Classic Race Week just sucked us in and we are so glad we stayed.  However, it means that we will more or less need to draw a bee line for Trinidad and prepare the boat for hurricane season storage.  We have our son’s wedding in Texas on June 3rd, and what a happy event that will be for us all.
SORRY, no pictures till we get back to the states.  But I promise they are worth looking at once were pare down from the 900+ we have taken in the past 2 months.

P.S.  Good rum causes NO HANGOVERS and we can testify to that after 8 straight nights of it, however it does cloud your resolve to move on to the next destination!

A Serving of Help and Kindness, Please

Roy’s Bayside Grill was serving more than great ribs this past Easter Sunday.  They served a series of generous slices of island hearts for one very sick little girl.
Our active granddaughter, Kiwi, had spent the afternoon working up a sweat swimmin in the surf, swaying and foot tapping to the jazz at Johnno’s and then faded into her grandpa’s lap.  She felt warm and took a nap.  We decided to walk down to Roy’s for a late afternoon appetizer, and found only the bar was open.  So ordering a beer we laid her down on a cushion and watched the local boats enjoying the breeze to practice for the Easter Monday Regatta. 
When we picked Kiwi up she was hotter than the ribs fresh off the grill, it burnt just touching her skin.  Grandpa walked up to the lady behind the bar and asked where was the closest hospital and what was our best option to get there because our little one had a high fever.  With not much hesitation she went over to one of customers.  Keith immediately embraced the situation and had us in his car in less than 3 minutes.  With his cell phone in one hand and the steering wheel in the other, he called the doctor he felt would best meet our needs as he drove us all to the hospital in the Valley.  Once at the hospital he smoothly helped us get checked in  and continued to call his doctor of choice.  Keith felt two plans were better than one as a wait in the hospital may be long.  Twenty minutes later the doctor called Keith back, he was across island with his son at another event.  With Keith’s words, and a short conversation with our daughter, he was in his car headed our way.  Dr Nicholas Carbon pulled up, pulled out his pediatric size equipment and gave our granddaughter a thorough exam. She was running a temperature of 103.2 F and had a throat infection.  He prescribed  antibiotics and since all the pharmacies were closed gave us the medication.  Keith drove us back to Roy‘s, called his relatives to tell them where they would find the dishes he had prepared for Easter dinner, and told them he would be there shortly.  On the drive back we learned his own son had died as a  toddler  due to a brain tumor, and how being able to help us was important to him. Once back at Roy’s he even offered us a room in his house for the night so we would  be nearby if help was needed.  We thanked him and took his phone number and arranged to meet the next morning at Roy’s.
As the morning sunlight rose, Kiwi’s fever  finally broke.  We prepared “Care Packages” for Keith and the doctor and headed the dinghy to Sandy Ground.  We walked the beach towards Roy’s Grill with hearts full of thanks for the kind people of Anguilla who stepped away from their holiday plans to offer aid and assistance to strangers.  Keith greeted us with hugs, told us we now belonged to the island, and always had a place to stay as well as offering to take us fishing. 
There on the beach were the Anguilla boats raising their sails to begin the Easter Monday Anguilla Regatta, and there was our granddaughter blowing kisses of luck to the sailors and saying, “Bye, bye boats.”

Jammin on Anguilla

April 6-April 11 Easter and Jammin’ in Anguilla
We set anchor in Sandy Ground, Anguilla on Friday afternoon, met the friendly Custom ladies, and headed down the beach for cold beer.  We walked to Sammy’s and found music, great t-shirts and shared a table with a couple from England.  Wanting to get a  sampler’s plate of the ambience we left after one beer and headed down to Elvis’s but we were too early for their Happy Hour .  Having walked as far as the beach stretched, we turned around and walked the full length down the other way to Roy’s Grill.  Kiwi rode on Dave’s shoulders.  There was a great crowd of locals, a closed kitchen, but a few open bar seats. 
Another beer or two later we packed up and headed slooooowly back to the boat.  With a two year old a walk on the beach is a lesson in patience.  Birds to chase, planes to wave bye bye to and watch disappear from sight, seashells to collect, chickens to chase and mimic, sand to squeeze into sand balls and throw at the advancing and retreating waves, a game of chase and hide toes from the same waves, watching other children playing in the surf and trying out what the 5 to 12 year olds are brave enough to do without thought or caution.  We had forgotten what goes on in a 2 year old mind, and the three of us wished we could have planned ahead and packed a 6 pack for the walk back to the dinghy.  Over an hour later we packed the stroller, bags, and granddaughter (who was now head to tow sand dune) into the dinghy.  How well we all slept that night!
Saturday was a sleepy, lazy day with a walk, and many talks with the locals, as we wandered the beach front and the road front of Sandy Ground.  Once again we ended up down at Roy’s and met a couple from Florida who had been coming here for over 20 years.  Still trying the sampler’s plate of atmosphere we found ourselves at the Pumphouse for an early dinner and were treated to an intro of the music being featured that night.  Backing up to the lagoon, we enjoyed the rustic d├ęcor, the pirate theme, and t-shirts with pirate mosquitoes downing their Rum blood punch, and sprayed the free bug spray all over our bodies.
Sunday started slower than Saturday with no one rolling out of bed early and the Easter Egg hunt was delayed until before noon.  Music started at Johnno’s and the Jammin’ crew went in to listen to the jam session.
Of course Kiwi had to run in the waves, and do what the other kids were doing.  She is fearless in the surf and sputters when she finds water has entered her mouth.  With a swipe to get the damp hair off her face, she stands and runs back in over and over again.  The music was great, and we all let the good vibes in and the sounds roll through our bodies till we were all swaying like palm fronds in the wind.  Little did we realize all the calm of the afternoon could be blow out of us in less than two hours.

March 26, 2012 Bunnies on Jammin

March 26- April 6, 2012  Bunnies on Jammin’

Thanks are in order to our daughter , Kelsey, who brought her daughter, Kiele(alias Kiwi), down to visit our boat for the past three weeks.  Having an almost two year old on the boat has aided our “get in shape” plan.  We also had a doctor- to -be on board for a week.  Lacey was a joy, and such a easy guest, but best of all for Dave was he had a dive partner and was able to get two dives in while she was here.    Dave has clearly been outnumbered with 4 females on board, but Captain status has kept a balance in many decisions. 
After picking the girls up from the airport, we took them to Barnacles for Happy Hour and food.  The next morning was the bakery with a dock for French pastries and a walk around town.  With the girls we circled St Martin, took in the Grand Case Tuesday night carnival like street party celebration, went to St Bart’s for hamburgers and to walk on Shell Beach.  Then we hopped over and visited the shops and bars of Philipburg. We ended Lacey’s vacation in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten with farewell drinks and good bye hugs.
Kelsey and Kiwi stayed on and we went  around the island again spending time in Tinntemarre and then Marigot on the French side of the island.  While Kelsey worked we played with Kiwi who loved water.  So we dumped water with a small cup from a tub back into the ocean.  Then she learned to swish clothes in soap bubbles, squeeze water out, and  helped grandma hang clothes to dry.  She also enjoyed reading with grandpa, painting with water colors, and playing hide and seek.  Her version is to cover her head with something and then call out, “Kiwi, Kiwi, Kiwi” each time a bit louder till she pops out and laughs when you say, “There she is”.  One night when the stars were just up Kiele pointed to a bright orb and said, “Kiwi’s star”.  Dave then asked her , “Where’s momma star?”  Kiwi pointed to Pleiades, “Right there.”  So Dave asked, “Where is Opa’s star?“ and she pointed to another group.  When asked where Oma star was she replied, “Not yet”.  We were amazed because she had never studied the night sky with any of us and we didn’t know she even knew what stars were.  Every clear night after this she pointed to all the right places for each of our stars.
Then as Easter approached a decision had to be made.  Should we spend Easter  in St. Bart’s or Anguilla?  In Anguilla there are beaches and there is a Sunday  jamming session that Colin, from 12 Meters, highly recommends and is world famous.  So far there are three votes for Anguilla and one for St. Bart’s…