Well the hurricane season seems to be at an end and we are heading up the chain tomorrow, Sunday November 1st!
We have been busy finishing the jobs that have slipped down the list, like hauling Marcus up the mast to replace the deck-light bulb and flag halyard,

View from the top of the mast!

View from the top of the mast!

clearing out the crew cabin and turning the bottom bunk into a larder…….and other such mundane jobs as we prepare for our next big adventure.
Just as we thought that everything was ready, the generator decided to pack up and despite all our best efforts and the help and advice from Mike, on The Buzzard, it turns out that the built in computer has a  fault…..so onward and upward sans water maker, until we find a Cummins Onan specialist.
We have a month to get ourselves up through the islands, stopping off  briefly in Antigua, then on to the BVIs before a long stretch west to the Bahamas and then over to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where our daughter, Jenni and her boyfriend and his mother,  are meeting us for Christmas.  Good times ahead….. Christmas winds permitting!

Leaving a place that has been ‘home’ for  four months is always going to be a strange feeling. We have been saying we’re leaving at the end of October since we arrived here back in June, but now it’s tomorrow we realise that we have made good friends that we may never see again!
In the last few weeks we seem to have had a very musical time! We started a singing group called the Archipelagos and after practicing frantically……….

The Archipelagos practicing on IK

The Archipelagos practicing on IK

…………performed at the local open mic night at the Museum.

open mic night at the museum

Open Mic night at the museum….me  thanking our MD 

We also had a jam session on our boat

Jamming on IK

Jamming on IK

and went on a French friend’s catamaran for a birthday party that turned into a jam!

Jamming with Pascal on his cat.

Jamming with Pascal on his cat.

Being in a small anchorage, away from marinas, means that you get to know the locals. I have four or five children, who I played games with at the pre-term party in September, who always run up to greet me and when I injured my foot and knee all my nodding acquaintances would stop to ask me how I was getting on. Local English has some funny quirks. I was asked several times “Did you mash your foot?”even when they were referring to my knee……..apparently anything to do with the leg is referred to as the foot!

Marcus has been very involved with the locals who play pool every Thursday and has taken a young man called Solomon under his wing. On the way into the quay yesterday evening we heard, ‘Teacher, Teacher!’……it was Solomon and he came over to thank Marcus for his coaching……now he says he will be winning the prize money every Thursday! He also told us he has a photo of Marcus in his room, to remind him to play to beat his opponent, rather than just pot the balls…….who’d have imagined Marcus as a pin-up!!?

We have met some wonderful people who have helped us out with advice and practical help on  various technical bits and given freely and willingly of their time. The cruising community is a cosmopolitan floating village who look out for each other……..a great place to be!

I am sorry to leave my ‘noodling’ buddies. It’s a great way to start the day…..an hour’s aerobic exercise, a chance to catch up on the gossip, a great source of advice on all sorts of topics and a lot of laughter! Altogether a great support network. I hope I find other noodlers as we move on.

The day before we left, Stamen and Durita gave us a wonderful farewell brunch of lobster soup and lambi curry. we spent most of the day with them……such good friends they feel like family.

Brunch with Hugh onboard Gaia

Brunch with Hugh on board Gaia

Stamen and Durita serving brunch.

Stamen and Durita serving brunch.

After leaving Grenada we stopped in at Carriacou for a day as the angle of sail is better from there to Antigua.

Carriacou is delightful and is so unspoilt.

Evening sky in Tyrrell Bay Cariacou.

Evening sky in Tyrrell Bay Cariacou.

Well we have made it to Antigua and arrived on Thursday at 1130hrs. We have anchored in Jolly Harbour, after having had a rough passage near Guadalupe. Marcus had to hand steer and change course to get into the lee of the island.

As we were making our final approach to Jolly Harbour we had to stand off entering and  sat out a torrential squall in deep water. Once everything settled down, we were glad to arrive!

We checked in and refuelled and then dropped anchor behind another English flagged boat ‘Maia’ who popped across and invited us aboard for sundowners! Where on land would that happen?
On Friday we met up with Marcus’ school friend Colin and his wife Lou and they took us out for lunch, then back to pick up the local mechanic to take a look at the generator.

Cushions up, all the stowed gear out and boards up……all to be replaced with no cure for the genny. A repeat performance on Saturday when the ‘expert’ arrived and two hours and £100 later the genny is  still refusing to work!! Our next option is to call ahead to Tortola and try to arrange for a Cummins Onan dealer to have a look at it and hopefully perform some ‘brain surgery’ that will stop it shutting itself down after five seconds.

The weather has been blustery, overcast and rainy so keeping up with the demands on the batteries has been a problem, without the solar panels pumping in power and we’ve had to run the main engine twice a day to top up the voltage.
With the weather being unsettled we have been tuning into Chris Parker’s 0700 weather broadcast on the SSB radio to work out when to leave and avoid the worst of the squalls. At the moment it looks like Wednesday will be the best day to leave.
Until then we are finding plenty of jobs to keep us occupied………how is it that in four months we didn’t find the time to get them all done? Hmmmm……..perhaps it has something to do with the social side of life in Grenada!!

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