Monday, February 19, 2007

December 19, 2006 - 63.06W, 18.12N - Anguilla

On Sunday, December 17th, we cleared out of St. Maarten and sailed north to Anguilla. It was such a short sail that we didn’t bother to remove the mainsail cover, so we reached up to the island under jib alone. With the wind around 15 kts, we were making about 6 knots over the ground, but if it dropped below 12, our boat speed hovered around 4 kts. Rounding the western corner of the island, we found ourselves close reaching under steep cliffs. We tacked back and forth for an hour or so, enjoying watching birds diving for fish, but if we kept sailing, customs was going to close before we could make it to the anchorage. So, we turned on the engine, and pulled in just in time to clear in.

We anchored as close to the beach as possible so that we would have a short dingy ride to customs. After clearing in, we wondered down the strip of beachfront bars to figure out which one would be our source of internet access. Roy’s is the place. Here is a link to the webcam that shows the anchorage.

What the cam doesn’t show is the commercial pier just in front of Roy‘s. Joan, the bartender, warned us that the barge docked at the pier would be unloading for much of the night so that it could be gone before the containership that was due to arrive the next morning pulled into the harbor. We returned to the boat for dinner and sat in the cockpit watching truckloads of dirt being removed from the barge. The racket kept up until 10pm, when the barge left, coming quite close to us. We were both on deck as it departed, to make sure that we didn’t need to pull in some anchor chain.

The following morning we awoke to repetitive series of horn blasts. The containership was loudly announcing its arrival. It took a few sets of blasts before we realized that they wanted us, and the rest of the boats anchored near the pier to move. Groggily, we upped anchor and moved as far from the pier as possible.

This rude awakening was the start of one of those days where nothing seems to go right. During the course of the day we lost several items off of the swim platform - my mask and snorkel, a cleaning cloth and a suction cup that we use to hold ourselves against the hull as we clean it. So far, we’ve found everything but the suction cup.

Sten was cooking up a storm down below - coleslaw, babyback ribs, corn bread and chocolate cake - working around the fact that we had run out of regular sugar, regular flour and unsalted butter. I came down to clean myself up from the hull cleaning, only to shoot myself in the eye with liquid soap.

When perched on the seat in our tub, the shampoo, conditioner and soap dispenser is at eye level. I yelled and stomped my foot in pain, but I couldn’t get out the words to tell Sten, who had come running, what had happened or how he could help. I was blindly digging in my eye, trying to remove the contact that had trapped the soap against it, and groping for the handheld shower nozzle, trying to flush my eye out. But the force of the stream was too much, so I asked for a cup. He dashed off, but was quickly back, bearing one of our plastic wine glasses from the galley, sloshing water all the way.

After tearing out my contact, and 15 minutes of flushing, I reemerged into the salon, looking for something to fill the wine glass other than water. Now blind in one eye, I offered to help him with the coleslaw. Knowing we were out of regular sugar, I reached into the deep storage to pull out some raw sugar. Too late did I realize that I had just added wheat bulgar to the dressing for the slaw. Sten brilliantly suggested that we strain the bulgar out of the dressing, which rectified the situation.

After a day cooking in the heat, Sten went to take a refreshing shower, only to have the shower drain in the aft head stop working again. We’ve had problems with it a few times now. The issue seems to be the on the discharge side of the pump.

After Sten put the ribs on the grill, he came back below to help clean up a bit from the cooking. We were both below when we heard a noise. Sten quickly realized what had happened. The grill, which is mounted on our stern rail, had rotated, dumping some of the ribs, and two of the four grill grates into the water.

Just another day in paradise.

After last night’s debacles, neither of us was really in the mood for the chocolate cake that Sten had worked so hard on. So today we had it for breakfast. It was like a scene out of a Bill Cosby comedy sketch. Flour, eggs, milk - yup, it’s a breakfast food.

If this trip has taught me anything so far it would be that I'm a total klutz. The fun continued today as I fried a strip of skin off of my arm while attempting to remove the quiche that I’d made for lunch from our oven. Our friend Sonya refers to her oven as the “easy bake oven”. The reference is brilliant. These boat ovens look like a real oven, but they are tiny, have hotspots, and you can only cook on the top rack or risk burning the bottom of whatever is in the pan.

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