19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua
Bubbles and crew ran completely broke of funds after Carine flew back to Amsterdam. Having neither cash nor credit via any type of card, Diego and I resorted to trading. For a couple dive tanks we got the jib sail repaired, for a regulator we got fresh produce out of a local garden. We were able to sell our gasoline (no longer of any value to us as we no longer have an outboard) to the Barbados cruising club commodore, Dr. Mike, to help raise cash to pay for check out costs. Thanks to local sailor Wipers we were lent a dingy to use for our days there.
One morning I woke to what I thought sounded like horses surrounding the boat to find that there were indeed horses swimming around our boat. I jumped in to join them in the pretty turquoise waters and was even able to ride one briefly. Besides making lots of good rum, Barbados also has some mighty fine race horses and the low impact training of ocean swimming is just the trick to their success.
Also in Barbados we bumped into old friend John and Jack on sailboat Iris who we hadn’t seen since Simonstown in South Africa. It was nice to share the intricacies of Barbados (the local McDonalds was shut down because they didn’t serve fried chicken, KFCs are everywhere) with an old friend I had first met at a remote island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but like always with sailing friends the brief reunion was followed by another goodbye as Diego and I set out for St. Lucia.
Our passage to St. Lucia was smooth sailing with spinnaker flying most the way. Spotted dolphins greeted us with the sunrise. We arrived at the south end of the island near the international airport only to discover my brother Joe was flying into the local airport on the north end of the island (a 30 miles sail). We found him in Rodney Bay with captain hat on and rum bottle in hand and so began the celebration of the Bubbles round the World circumnavigation (also helping the celebration was St. Lucia Jazz Fest which included the likes of Ziggy Marly and Diana Ross). Also making an appearance was the Barbados commodore Dr. Mike who has sailed his 30 footer over for the Jazz fest.
Setting sail for Antigua to meet more crew we made only 4 miles towards our destination in the first 6 hours as we beat into 25 knots easterlies with current against us. Overcast skies with rain squalls didn’t help our hangovers from the Madagascar rum drinking the previous night and in a rare occurrence Diego even puked. Once to windward of Martinique the wind shifted southeasterly in our favor and like a rocket we shot the next 170 miles in just over a day.
We arrived into English Harbour just before 4 am. The stylishly lit massive megayachts and classic sailing vessels (many with masts so tall they need the red aviation lights to warn passing aircraft) that were left over from sailing race week just a couple weeks before grabbed our attention in the otherwise dark and quiet hurricane hole. We tied up between two classic schooners at Nelson’s Dockyard but it wasn’t until morning when we walked ashore and looked back that we saw how dwarfed Bubbles was amongst the shiny boats (Bubble still ranked as the prettiest amongst our circle).
Joining as crew that day to carry on the festivities was Paddy King, a true Bubbles diehard , out of London town, crewed across the Mozambique Channel; Molly Smith, aka Starbird, out of Omaha Nebraska, returning from recently crewing up the Amazon river; and Barbara, a Bubbles rookie, out of the Netherlands, raised sailing in the North Sea. Also just happening to be in Antigua working on another boat was Sara from Texas who I had met in Jamaica three years before when starting the journey. With such a crowd together a hike up to Shirley Heights was in order for the Sunday afternoon steel drum band. Donning the Bubbles shirts we carried the party into the night and in true Bubbles fashion were last ones to leave (this made for an interesting hike back down from the cliff overlooking Antigua as we had no flashlights). Up at sunrise we set sail for Barbuda.