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

2017 Passage South

Many boats left as planned on November 2nd and made a planned stop in Bermuda for fuel due to low winds in the forecast. We opted to wait for wind along with several other boats in the Salty Dawg Rally. We departed at 1508 EST from Hampton on November 6th four days later than originally planned. As we neared Cape Henry we were greeted by dolphins. I take them as a good omen that the passage will go well.

And our passage to Antigua was relatively easy this year. We started with little wind but enough to motor sail down the coast towards Hatteras. We crossed the gulf stream without big seas or swell relatively speaking.

We had an odd influx of moths join us as we crossed the Gulf Stream this year. They appeared out of no where and left in the same manner. I counted at least 7 on board and they stayed for about 24 hours.

We also saw birds 200 miles off shore – the most unusual being 2 herons that looked like they wanted to land on our boat but we were in the process of putting up the Code Zero (big sail for light winds) so they circled once and realized people were on board and continued flying south. Amazing.

The cat was sick a few times but didn’t give up eating because of it. We were surprised how well she did for her first passage. As time went on she came to understand the routine and often joined whoever was at the helm at night.

One night while she was at the helm with me she perked up and got my attention to notice a flying fish had landed in the cockpit. She was curious so I put the flashlight on it for her. I don’t touch fish, so the thing had to suffer it out until P came on shift to throw it overboard. It entertained Sierra for a short while. She sniffed it once it stopped moving and just walked on by back to the inside of the boat.

We had a few squalls on our last few days of passage but none with winds of more than 25 knots so even these were easy to pass through as they were also fairly small in size. I appreciate a good squall for getting the salt off the boat.

A typical squall at sea (relatively mild <30 knot winds)

We had to manage fuel as we knew we’d have little or no wind on our final days of passage. We did this fairly easily as we carried an additional 49 gallons of fuel, giving us 207 gallons of fuel for the trip. We had more than enough as we motored the last 2 days of the trip against mild winds from the south.

Our trip took just under 11 days. We arrived in Jolly Harbour, Antigua at 9:30am on November 17th. We used the wind as much as possible to sail us until the wind went south. There was a point when we were easily headed to Puerto Rico at which we had to tack and turn on the motors again.

We didn’t have crew, just P and I doing our usual 3 hour sifts. My shifts 8-11 and 2-5, his 11-2 and 5-8.

Highlights were falling stars at night. The Leonid Meteor Shower was scheduled to peak on November 17th, the day of our arrival. The night before, Nov 16, they were clearly starting as I watched many falling stars on my last night shift before arrival.