Last post there was a sense of euphoria at discovering the wonders of the Caribbean, at finding wildlife, crystal clear waters and at finally being able to relax…so, where are we now, both geographically and emotionally?
Geographically, we are moored in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua within a stones throw of the biggest and most decadent motor and sailing vessels I have EVER seen.
We’ve spent some very special time in Ille de Saintes with our Danish friends, a few days in Basse Terre, Guadaloupe to sit out an unpleasant weather system. We hiked up a Volcano, met a new family in the marina and walked up a big hill with them. We anchored in a place called Pigeon Island where we saw 9 turtles within the first 5 minutes of being there and met another Canadian family while musing over a lion fish. Our treasured Kiwi friends met us in Pigeon Island where we celebrated Shannon and Mike’s almost the same day birthdays, then said farewell, (possibly for some time) only to meet the Danish family again in English Harbour for the night, before heading up to Green Island. We had an incredible anchorage all to ourselves in a place called Ten Pound Bay where we met another Aussie family with kids about the same age. They played on a beach together for hours, collecting hermit crabs and running in and out of the water! We headed back to Falmouth Harbour to get a bit sorted before Mike started work- more on that later…
Emotionally, well that’s always a little more complex.
We’ve had the talk- do we continue with this journey? Is it working for us all, do we sell the boat here or in the US and/or, WHAT is the next chapter…
All very interesting questions- even more interesting responses, when you are really forced to think about it.
There’s a lot of water between here and the Pacific, something I guess I realized but didn’t really realize until we did some numbers. I am somewhat daunted by this and Mike is daunted by the fact that I’m so daunted and how do we make the journey more enjoyable for everyone?
Enter long time friend who just happens to be a sailor, who just happens to have some spare time on his hands and who is keen and willing to join our journey into the Pacific. He’s done a lot of miles, he’s got a lot of experience and he’s a lovely bloke! He’ll remain nameless at this point as I can’t contact him right now and I’m not sure he wants his name plastered all over our blog! However, a HUGE sigh of relief has been exhaled by us all. The ‘dream’ was always to do this trip as a family but when the dream isn’t quite working, it’s time to modify the parameters slightly and do something a little differently. Time to add a new dynamic to the SOL crew and our Type A personalities!!!!
Speaking of different, boat schooling is coming along. We’ve been focusing on vocabulary of late. The other evening when the kids were cleaning their teeth, I heard something drop in the bathroom, then in a whispered but extremely clear voice I heard, “ oh for f@#ks sake!” Hmmm, how to positively handle that one? Lilly was cleaning her teeth at the same time but half out of the bathroom and I saw her eyes widen as I looked up from what I’d been doing. I mouthed to her, ‘did he just say what I thought he said?” An affirmative head nod answered what I already knew. Hmmm, still how to handle that one?
I wandered into the front head, (not a very long distance) and simply said, “buddy, I heard what you just said. I know where you’ve heard it from and it’s not ok for you to say those words- it’s not ok for me to say those words. I’m going to try not to say them and I don’t want you to say them again either.”
“Right Mum” was the reply. Don’t make a big deal of it- see how we go.
The resounding “SHIT”, that came out Seb’s cabin yesterday, received a somewhat stronger response, (one involving the threat of soap and water). Somehow I think I’ll be blowing bubbles long before he does!
Mike has started work with the Lionheart team so we’ll be here in Antigua for several weeks. I think I’ve been pretty honest so far in describing our travels so why change that now! I was a little more than slightly anxious about this impending phase of being on my own with the kids while we were out on a mooring. Like most things with me however once I get into it, I’m fine. In fact, the renewed sense of confidence and INDEPENDENCE is amazing. The mental checklist is long, generator sequence, water maker sequence, all hatches shut due to imminent rain squalls, VHF off, dinghy lowering sequence, then driving dinghy, (wooo actually this is really fun) make sure we are in a good spot at Dinghy dock, lock the boat to the wharf- oh bugger remove the key first, tie her up, don’t forget flip flops, then more or less reverse it all on the way back to the boat.Now where are the kids????
Despite living on a boat and sailing across the Atlantic, Lilly and Seb haven’t done a lot of actual sailing, so as I type this they are out having a sailing class at the local sailing academy. So far, they absolutely love it. They have a very cool instructor called Sylvester and love capsizing. Getting them to buy into the whole sailing thing is super important…hmmm perhaps I should be out there in a dinghy too…but using the free wifi and enjoying a coffee, without having to answer any questions for an hour or so seems pretty important too!
We celebrated World Book Day on a friends boat- dressed up and played new games, decorated cookies and then the boys proceeded to blast each other with water pistols up on deck!
Our visit here just happened to coincide with a One Day cricket match between the West Indies and England. 14 of us caught a bus out to the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and had a fantastic day taking in the incredible smells, the music and the ambience of it all. The kids had a different experience that involved a lot of wrestling, smacking each other with the blow up wackers and rolling down the hill we were sitting on, but hey they can forever say they’ve been to an International cricket match in Antigua!
So that’s about it for now. Mike is about to head off to Saint Barts for his regatta, we have moved around into English Harbour and are now situated in the Nelsons Dockyard Marina for the next 2 weeks. We continue to meet incredible people and there is absolutely NO shortage of children for the kids to play with. Sailing class is about to finish so I’ll wrap it up there.
Thanks again for following our jouney- for now SOL Crew out!