Finally, not too many distractions, enough wind and sun for electricity, and a little internet – sounds like a normal every day for those choosing life in a land based, fairly civilized environment.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog and got ‘blocked’ trying to catch up with now over 2,5 years and almost 14,000 Miles cruising with my beloved cat Ska on my trusted sailing yacht, the ‘Ocean Maiden’ (had a little 9 months interlude in North Germany). I might catch up another day, but I decided to start again with the status quo.
We are lying at anchor in beautiful Barbuda, close to Cocoa Point on the south-west side of the island. This is where I started my crossing to Europe little under 2 years ago. It is fairly protected from the prevailing Easterlies but every once and then a ground swell comes through, lifting and lowering the yachts around and the once closer to shore get sometimes a little scary boost forward. I prefer anchoring a little further out, you tend to get more of a breeze, which is welcome to cool the boat down, play with Ska’s whiskers and give me a little more power through my wind generator – and mostly no creepy-crawlies, biting, sucking monsters…no-see-ums or bigger or scarier ones.
Every day, I see yachts come and go but I decided to ‘take a break’. Friends of mine still tick off some Western Islands before heading back to Antigua to prepare for their crossings back to Europe. It has been different for me this time in the Caribbean, having met some yachties in Europe and doing the crossing together and meeting again in various places in the western Caribbean – most of them are short-term cruisers, actually on a year’s vacation which is quite different from us more long-term, real liveaboards one. The aim is not to ‘tick off’ as much as possible but rather get to know fewer places in a different way. A lot of the yachties I met this time were Skandinavian, so many Swedes and now Norwegians – you wouldn’t think anyone is left in their countries with relative small populations! My Swedish is still atrocious though….and my mouth can’t seem to get around some of those vowels…oh well, should concentrate on my French and Spanish again for the months to come and probable places to visit.
There is always so much to learn on a boat. I first thought it would be about fishing, recipes (conchs etc), playing the Ukulele and Cajon Kirsten and Jörk gave me, learning shanties and reciting dirty sailor’s sayings, making jewellery, photography, writing this blog regularly, reading and so much more of the fun stuff. Then you learn what so many other boat owners seem to know already – there is always something to fix, to maintain and to clean. Most often I had to first learn how to do the simplest maintenance tasks and there is lots of advice out there – you just have to figure out yourself what and how you like it done. My to-do list is growing constantly and important things get done right away whereas others are for the hurricane season which I intend to spend down in Grenada / Carriacou. But it’s not all that serious….in between, I go for a swim or snorkel, a walk on a beach or a climb up the mountain (ok, not here, it’s quite flat for a change). Oh, and collect seafood – I’m experimenting with all kinds of molluscs, conchs being the best so far….made a curry this morning and it’s slow-cooking in my wonder bag now.
There could hardly be a better, more beautiful setting than here in Barbuda, even better soon when the lodges / guest houses close for the hurricane season and it looks like a deserted paradise. Long beaches enclose the anchorages with fine white sand, lined with the occasional palms and low-growing scrubs, occasionally visited by some humans, donkeys and horses. The reefs are in fairly good shape, fish teaming, one shark so far (might be a black-tip reef shark), rays, turtles, the odd lobster, sea urchins and some leftover living conchs….so many dead and holed ones, it looks quite sad underwater. It feels cold, when the water temperature goes below 28 degrees, but I can play in it for hours. I go for a paddle and when I see something interesting in the water, I tie a rope from the kayak around my waist, don fins, makes and snorkel and explore underwater for awhile. If I find some little treasures, I paddle home and cook / clean them and continue with work on the boat and hopefully continue more blogging.
Silke & Ska