Published: May 11th 2011April 26th 2011
April 26, 2011 – Sandy Beach Harbor, Anguilla
We arrived in Aguilla the Saturday before Easter Sunday, April 23, 2011. After anchoring in Sandy beach harbor, 4-8 took the rest of the watch again which makes a long day for us. This means our day started at 3:30am with our first watch. Then after 8am we went to all hands to prepare for our arrival. I think we must have been anchored/cleared thru customs by 1 or 2. The rest of the watches jumped for shore while the 4-8 stayed to do topsides (riding in a little skiff around the boat using “ospho”-osphoric acid- to remove rust stains and fresh water rinsing afterward then doing any touch up paint jobs to the sides of the ship and repainting the water line). Luckily they did the big job in Antigua after the month crossing so there wasn’t that much to do. It was the doc (who is a great addition to our ship), AB Sophie, myself and Taia who, as usual, giggled her way thru – even thru one of the most dreaded ship jobs. We hopefully thought our work day would be done at that point, being 4pm. But, the captain had also decided he wanted the quarter deck re-varnished, so we joined the rest of our watch on our hands and knees sanding down the old varnish off the quarter deck – goofy exhausted, but at least I wasn’t alone in it! Dinner was very quiet that night as everyone tiredly ate a yummy dinner made by Frankie that included lots of fresh veggies and Joani offered up a bottle of wine as well. The sunset, again, was gorgeous. After dinner drinks were with Taia and Dave on the focsle – Amarulla on ice – ice! I love ice! I was so exhausted I just went straight to bed after that – I think it was before 9pm – and got up at some point for an hour of anchor watch during the night.
The next day was our day off, Easter Sunday! And what a day it was! It started with a small boat sail in our very cute Sea Never Dry – the colors of the hull are painted red, yellow and green with Senegalese stripes and the sails are made of fabric with Senegalese patterns – so she looks like a little gaff rigged gypsy sailboat. At around 9am, 5 of us took off with great wind cruising around the harbor, checking out the tiny strip of sand/island that is only big enough for a palm tree and a bar/restaurant (a reef and no chart prevented us from visiting it) and we finally anchored off a deserted beach somewhere for a swim. Then we headed back in towards the harbor, but this time we were beating the wind which made things a little slower and requiring us to tickety tack our way back. I was on the tiller and we even tickety tacked our way between all the small boats right up to the beach! Woo, was that fun! Altho, I think we were making others nervous. One boat to which we thought we had gotten too close yelled back in their French accents “You’re sooo cute!!!”. After anchoring, we installed ourselves at a little beachside bar/restaurant for a tropical rum drink called a “bushwack”, watched the Anguilla sailboats get ready for their afternoon race (with HUGE mainsails) and napped the afternoon away. By 4 or 5 we finally motivated ourselves off the beach for a hitch hike up to Gwen’s Reggae place on the north side of the island where all the other off watch shipmates had already been spending the day. Side note, hitching a ride is surprisingly easy and safe here – even for a group of 5. The second truck that stopped for us, we weren’t even trying to flag them down. I am repeatedly reminded how nice people are all over the world and including the Caribbean. Gwen’s place was a reggae resto/bar right on the beach complete with hammocks and live music. Again, more “pinch me I must be dreaming” moments – the others were already several rum drinks into the afternoon and everyone was just chilling out and celebrating Cody’s birthday, complete with 25 spanks to the rear end. I do recall being involved in a hammock that broke under the pressure of five of us (I went rolling down the palm-root-sand-dune) and there was much dancing to be had after that. Needless to say, we totally called when the hammock was going to break seconds before it happened for we have gained the keen observation of rust and when things are going to give way as a result of it – thanks to all those times I’ve been rust busting! 10 of us happened to hitch a ride back in the back of another pick-up truck and on the way back 5 of us hopped out to hit up a road-side roti shack that some of the shipmates had visited a year ago at the start of the trip. Yum! Roti – being Easter Sunday, we had shrimp roti and more rum punch to wash it down and fantastic conversations. It was great.