Happy 2018

Happy New Year and all the best wishes for 2018.

We rung in the new year anchored in Carlisle Bay on the south side of Antigua. There is a resort on the beach here that has had bands playing both during the day today, January 1st and yesterday as well as last evening. We sat out on the bow of the boat, under an almost full moon taking it in.

Fireworks above us

At midnight fireworks were set off from the beach. Our boat was just far enough away to be safe. Every one set so high in the sky just above us. Then we noticed some more fireworks in the next bay over off our stern as well. We were surrounded. It was magical and well worth staying up for.

So for today’s blog post, I thought we’d add some photos from 2017 that never managed to get posted to the blog.

The year started with a big problem when one of the four struts holding the roof over our cockpit broke at the weld.  But a quick stop at Nanny Cay, some great welding by Nanny Cay, and a lot of Paul labour made us good as new.  Not the ideal way to spend the last couple days with Gwyn who had arrived for Christmas, but we found ways to make it good.

Next was the visit of our son Keith and his wife Taryl. They enjoyed a week with Paul in BVI in January 2017.

Between January and March, Paul single handed the boat from BVI to Antigua.  Love the passage sunsets


Spectacular sunset

Next I came for a break from work in March and was joined on the boat by my second cousin from England, David Wilce (our grandfathers were brothers). He spent 10 days on the boat, while I left after 6 days.  First stop was some relaxing at Green Island and a visit to Harmony Hall.

Then came Paul’s birthday with a fun toy.

After much fun and relaxation at Green Island, Gwyn had to head back to Vancouver so Paul and David met some friends in Falmouth and discovered some great hikes.

And lastly Paul had some great crew, Matt and Chris, from St Croix, who helped him sail the boat from BVI to Hampton, Virginia in May. They had a quick and easy sail to the US. Here’s some of the dolphins they enjoyed along the way. They also caught some fish.

Hopefully we’ll do better at keeping the blog up to date from this point forward. Meanwhile Happy 2018 everyone.

Busy Days in Antigua

Many events were planned by the organizers of the Salty Dawg Rally for the fleet of boats in Antigua. Once we cleared ourselves and Charlie in at Jolly Harbour, we picked up some fresh food at the large market and headed over to Falmouth Harbour where the fleet was gathering.

We arrived in time for the Welcome Event hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club, November 19th. They treated the Dawgs to hors d’oeurves and 2 free drinks. There we shared our tales of passage with fellow cruisers which is always fun. We also run into people we know from previous passages. It was a good time had by all.

The following day we met up with a group of friend for an early morning hike. A good stretch of the legs was definitely in order after sitting around on a boat for days on end.

On November 20th, the welcome dinner for the Dawgs was held at Boom, a great restaurant with a pool over looking English Harbour. There were no vegan options on the menu for this event so I chose the Mahi Mahi (I do eat fish now and then). The food was the best I’ve ever eaten in the Caribbean.

I enjoyed the view at Boom so much that I went back there with friends the following day for an afternoon poolside. Paul stayed on board and did some of the post passage boat chores.

The pool overlooking English Harbor at Boom

Our next to last Salty Dawg event was the Tail of the Dawg event at Pusser’s in Nelsons Dock Yard on November 22. Here we greeted the Dawgs who didn’t arrive in time for the previous events. People shared their stories and received awards for the most mishaps at sea, last boat to arrive, and most unlucky boat (one was struck by lightening). It was fun. We followed this event with pizza at a nearby restaurant. Here friends from Too-Da-Loo shared the best story of all about how they had to clear a clogged head while at sea. We laughed until we ached.

As we arrived back to the boat that evening I stepped out of the dinghy and slipped. I landed in the water. No harm done, but I realized that our new dinghy is much more slippery than the old one. It also sits a little higher on the water so the step off and onto the boat is different now. Something new to adjust to and one more thing to laugh at to top off a fun evening.

November 23rd, Thanksgiving day (US) we went for another hike with friends in the morning. Then joined in on the Thanksgiving Dinner hosted by the Antigua Yacht Club. For $15 each they put on a full fledged turkey dinner with all the trimmings and dessert. Paul ate my share of turkey and I enjoyed the salads and dessert. Another successful event.

Somewhere in between the events we had a day of jamming aboard Blue Sky. I did some baking of granola, cookies and scones while the music played.

Amara, Rum Runner and Kalunamoo having musical fun on Blue Sky

We’ve since spent some time in Carlisle Bay, Green Island, Deep Bay and Jolly Harbour. Paul has spent countless hours repairing out water maker along with countless other things that have decided to break. I am hoping as Mercury comes out of retrograde later this week that things will stop breaking and we’ll be back to normal.

We are now back at Green Island (our favourite place in Antigua) where we’ll stay until Christmas or maybe New Years. We are falling into routine, doing yoga or a workout each morning and a swim each afternoon. Charlie gets ashore twice a day. We both work on small boat projects and read, write or get into our hobbies. Life is good.

Charlie focused on reaching the beach while Dad side strokes for company

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are the perfect little snack. Easy to make and quick (takes about 20 minutes). Warning, you will get messy hands when you press them into cookies, but it’s so worth it.

1/2 cup unsweetened dairy free milk (I use Almond Milk)
3 TBSP Dairy free butter (if you are not vegan, you can use regular butter)
1/3 cup of coconut sugar (alternate Brown Sugar)
1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 TBSP Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1. Place milk, butter, sugar, cocoa powder and chocolate chips into a medium sized pot.
2. Bring to a rolling boil and boil at rolling for approximately 3 minutes. Stir a few times to ensure the chocolate chips don’t stick to the bottom of the pan before they melt.
3. Remove from heat, add salt, vanilla extract, peanut butter and mix until the peanut butter melts (note: I’ve made the mistake of adding these when it’s doing the rolling boil and it worked out okay)
4. Stir in the oats.
5. Scoop out dollops of the mixture (I get a rounded tablespoon amount) and press them into a ball and flatten slightly and place on a baking sheet or waxed paper. Repeat until you have all the mixture made into cookies.
6. Let sit at room temperature for approximately 1 hour. Move to a plastic bag or container and refrigerate or freeze. I like to keep mine in the freezer as they thaw quite quickly.

Creepy Crawlies

I surprised myself when I discovered I don’t scream when a cockroach crawls over my foot. Yes, this happened on one of my night shifts about half way through the trip. I was in the head (aka bathroom) when it happened. Anyway, I finished what I was doing proceeded to track down the thing and smashed it with a hammer. It wasn’t moving as fast as it normally would have so I assumed it had eaten some of my poison. I don’t really like to admit that I became quite so evil in the killing of this cockroach, but I did. Who knows what that karma will look like.

I was naive to think there was only one. A few days after arrival to the island another cockroach tickled my leg while I was reading late one night. I was sitting under the red lights on the boat with only the light of my computer glowing. Cockroaches like the dark. Well, I woke up Paul. I had cornered the thing near our door. We had no raid on board so we sprayed it with Clorox kitchen cleaner. It got away from us so I didn’t sit in the dark for a few nights after that. This one did die, we found it under the carpet near our entry way a few days later.

We of course went to the store the next day for Raid. I’d also insisted that we order some cockroach bait before we departed Hampton, so I put this out in the cupboards and around the boat where the pets couldn’t get into it.

Number 3, yes there was a third one. This one tickled my leg. Once I realized it wasn’t the cat, I grabbed the Raid and a flashlight and sprayed the thing. I went for the trusty hammer and when I came back with it I couldn’t find the cockroach. Arghhh. As I was wandering around looking for it, there it was practically at my feet. I split it in half with the hammer. This hammer is no ordinary hammer (see pic), it’s one that is meant to smash through the windows in the hull of the boat if it ever ends up upside down and we need to get escape.

On yet another relaxing evening I went to grab a can of tonic water from the cupboard and there to greet me was cockroach number 4. I quickly closed the cupboard door, grabbed the raid and opened the door and sprayed. This one got away. I had to go back into the cupboard the next day in the daylight and wash everything inside since it was all coated with Raid, yes I sprayed with a vengeance. It’s the price you pay for trying to free the boat from these critters.

Number 5 showed up for Paul. It’s about time he dealt with one. This one was nearly dead and found in the cupboard where the dog food is kept. The same place the first one came out from. Paul threw it overboard and announced it to me when I awoke.

Number 6, which may have been number 4, showed up dead under the printer. Paul found this one, showed it to me. I insisted he squish it real good before throwing it overboard, just in case it could do the backstroke.

We are now over 1 week without any sightings. I’ve kept the poison topped up just in case. I’ve cleaned out several bilges and have had no evidence of more. Well I wrote that line yesterday. Last night I woke in the night and decided to make myself some tea. Low and behold, there was a big cockroach on the kitchen counter. Out came the raid and the flashlight. I sprayed it but it moved quickly, clearly not taken in by the poison. Down to the floor and Where??? I turned on all the lights, and Sierra kitty made a dash toward her water dish. There it was. Move the cat, spray, spray, spray some more, gotcha. Then I picked up the trusty hammer and smashed the thing. Oh, my karma. Wash out the water bowl and relocate it while the raid dries and dissipates into the pets food mat. Meanwhile wash up the kitchen counter and cupboard doors from the raid. I leave the dead thing on the pets mat for Paul to deal with in the morning. Time for my tea and back to bed.

To add to the bugs on board saga, I had to throw out a bag of seeds meant for sprouting. Luckily it was only one bag, but some sort of little black flying bug had hatched inside the bag. There were probably around 30-50 of these things inside the bag. The good news was they were contained. I emptied the bugs and seeds overboard. I figure the fish would get a nice little treat of protein in those bugs. The seeds sunk so may be a nibble for a crab or shrimp.

Yes, it’s not all fun and games at sea. Sometimes you have to deal with creepy things. But good heavens I think I’ve had enough for awhile. I’ll keep you posted should there be any more bug stories to share.

Creamy Asian Style Pasta

Our granddaughter calls this the butterfly dish as I use bow tie pasta noodles, but you can use any type of noodle you like. This has a very unique flavour and has quickly become another favourite we make on the boat.

1 TBSP olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, chopped (can also use 4 cups of spinach, chopped)
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-4 1/2 cups BowTie pasta (about 2 cups uncooked)
1 1/2 tsp red curry paste
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can coconut milk (unsweetened, whole fat)
1 cup frozen peas
11/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into halves or sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta noodles to aldente, rinse and set aside
2. Heat oil in a large pan or skillet and saute the onion for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add garlic, zucchini and red pepper and saute an additional 2 minutes.
4. Add remaining ingredients except for the cherry tomatoes and cook 13 minutes.
5. Stir in tomatoes and cook an additional 2 minutes.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Optional toppings:
. Chopped Cilantro, Mint or Parsley
. Squeeze of lime

Butterfly Pasta – New favourite