May 1995 - Antigua to St Lucia

1 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
Tempus Fugit, start of another month of my life. I feel like I’m in limbo – I have a monotonous routine of school work, washing up, tidy up, 1 hour to do something and then into making dinner and there was the day …. gone! We’ve been here a month now and I’m tired of the view. I’m also frustrated because there are jobs on the boat to do, but I can’t bring myself to put the boat in a mess. The boys are pretty good, but wearing – I can’t wait until Glenys gets back so that she can take some of the pressure off me. It’s not that the boys are a problem – they are just so demanding on attention and time. “Dad, can I have a drink”; “Dad, look at this”; “Dad, I’m hungry”; “Dad, can you help me to find a bit of Lego”; “Dad, can I bring my (four, noisy) friends aboard to play”; “Dad, can I have a drink?”...

We had a record school today – it took Brett until half past two! After lunch, we all went for a walk round to the Pillars of Hercules which was interesting. Tuna lasagne for dinner.

2 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
We had a slack school day and did a review lesson. I did a bit of running about and then we did a major tidy up and clean up of the boat. All the boats arrived back from Dickenson Bay, so it was mayhem in the afternoon with boats trying to anchor all over the place.

I went and did a dive with Keith of “Tsimbe”. I filled 2 tanks. We went to “Severance” for a drink.They have a 1982 Oyster 39 which they have lovingly restored. The topsides and deck have been painted, they’ve just spent £10,000 having a new deck laid and the varnish is immaculate. I’ll get Glencora like that just before we sell her!

3 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
I switched on the VHF this morning and was surprised to hear “Dabulamanzi” calling us. They arrived at midnight last night. We picked Glenys up at half past ten and wasn’t I glad to see her! After lunch, Gareth picked us up in his dinghy and we went to watch the Funday Games.

In the evening, we went to the Oyster owners drinks evening. Richard Matthews is a typical company chairman – his eyes glaze over when he talks to “little people” like me. We had a few drinks and went for dinner at one of the chicken huts.

4 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
We had a quiet day, pottering about. I spent 2 hours scrubbing the bottom of the boat. I noticed that we have got a few small blisters under the epoxy coating. Our 3 year guarantee against osmosis runs out in July so I guess I’ll have to try to get it sorted out in the next few weeks. I don’t particularly relish the idea of a month on the hard, but the osmosis might get worse. We went over to “Dabulamanzi” for dinner and videos.

5 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
We filled up with water and diesel. I did school work in the morning while Glenys helped Gareth on “Dabulamanzi”. I went over and scrubbed “Dabulamanzi’s” hull. In the evening, we went out with Gareth to a chicken hut and then strolled about for a while. At half past eight, we took the boys back to “Glencora” and left Brett looking after Craig while we went out to the party. We had a fun time drinking rum punches and watching people at the Copper and Lumber.

6 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
A bit of a hangover this morning. At midday we decided to go for a dive. After about 20 minutes Glenys felt sick so we came up early. We went to the final race week event which finished with the Police Band, marching and gun salutes. Interesting day, quiet evening - in bed by nine o’clock.

7 May 1995 English Harbour, Antigua
School work in the morning. We went to the beach to a barbeque – I’m afraid that I find these very boring now. There are lots of mongooses in the woods behind the beach and they came fairly close to pick up the odd chicken bone. I think I got a photo of one, they move so quickly!

Most people are leaving this week and it’s about time that we moved on. I’ve still got to find the leak in the deck, so we’ll probably be here until mid-week. Brett’s feet are covered in verucae and warts – I’ve been trying to treat them with salicylic acid but his plasters keep coming off when he’s playing in the sea and I keep forgetting about it. If it gets any worse we’ll have to take him to the doctors.

8 May 1996 English Harbour, Antigua
Glenys did school work this morning while I took down the head linings to find the deck leak. I didn’t find the leak, but I did find out that the starboard chain plates are pulling off the hull! I got three opinions on it and all seem to think that it isn’t a complete disaster, but it needs to be done fairly soon. I decided that I will sort it out in St Lucia. We’ll set sail tomorrow to get out of Antigua before something else stops us. Fortunately, we will be on port tack all the way to St Lucia which will take the load off the starboard shrouds – I hope!

9 May 1995 English Harbour to Deshaies, Guadeloupe
We finally did it, we left Antigua! We had calm seas and a 10-15 knot wind from ESE. We basically motor-sailed the whole way there. I put the main topping lift on a stanchion deck fitting on the starboard side to give the chain plates some relief, and to act as an emergency shroud in case of disaster. I looked at the chain plates every so often, and found that the (now) free end is moving about 3 mm as the rig and hull flexes. It doesn’t seem to be getting any worse though. We anchored in the relatively empty bay at Deshaies, but the wind is coming from the west, which is weird! I cleared in and then we lounged about.

10 May 1995 Deshaies, Guadeloupe
We rocked and rolled during the night because the wind is coming from such a strange direction. Glenys did school work while I put back the head linings (apart from the box around the starboard chain plates, so that I can see what is going on!)

I filled 6 tanks. I had a chat to Adrian from “Kelly’s Eye” (GB) about the chain plates and he gave me some advice on how to do it.

After lunch, Glenys and I went on a dive. Another quiet, wine besotted night. It’s great being back in France!