compass rose

 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

Cute critters and an accomodating bowman

This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For more pictures, please see the Gallery.

Falmouth Harbor, Antigua 2/2/2015

Life in paradise

Yoles racing in Martinique

Feelin' Good in Nonesuch Bay, Antigua

We are at anchor in Nonesuch Bay tucked in behind the reef on the east side of Antigua. An old front is coming through blowing 20 to 30 knots. This does not make for dramatic pictures (see our neighbor "Feelin' Good" ) as wind does not photograph well. It does make one happy to be snug in a solid boat with adequate ground tackle. It also makes for plenty of power to run the PC.

Rebecca off Southern coast of Antigua

Rebecca off Southern coast of Antigua

We have been alternating work and play in Antigua mostly with our friends Denis and Arleen on Tiger Lily II. There aren't as many smaller boats around this season. In particular, the Americans are missing. The Canadians are still here in numbers – apparently motivated by a still strong economy and a really harsh winter. Antigua is also home to the super- and mega-yachts on Mediterranean/Caribbean charter circuit and those seem to be busy all the time. Some how it adds to our pleasure to know we are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars each week we don't charter one. Right now they are racing them with a mixture of professional crew and guests paying for the privilege sharing the excitement. We don't get the crew T-shirt but have the better view: we get to look at them and they have to look at us.

Adela and Rebecca off the southern coast of Antigua
Adela and Rebecca off the southern coast of Antigua

Before I get to the "working-on-the-boat" report, I will show you some cute little critters we've come across. Kittens and dumb stunts are known to be the very soul of the web. Sailing is one dumb stunt after another but they are usually performed by myself and are best left unrecorded. Also, we have no kittens aboard so, these will have to serve as our click magnet:

Butterflies at Great Bird Island, Antigua
Butterflies at Great Bird Island, Antigua


Catching some Caribbean sun




Baby turtles dining on Hibiscus blooms
Baby turtles dining on Hibiscus blooms






Great Bird Island is located at the northeastern corner of Antigua and is home to at least one species of snake found only in Antigua and gone extinct on the bigger island when mongoose were introduced to control rats. It was also a-swarm with clouds of small butterflies when we visited by kayak. About a dozen later came out to visit us on the boat. Lovely yellow wings on one side and white on the other.

Amongst our many visits to the chandleries, we found these little turtles lunching on hibiscus flowers in a little box on the floor.

In a pile of discarded parts at Watermaker Services, we found this lovely lizard.




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Water maker membrane.

Old water maker membrane containers

new longer water maker membrane

New water maker membrane container

What were we doing at Watermaker Services? This brings us to the working-on-the-boat portion of our story. You see we carry 180 gallons of water in a large tank under the salon table. At about 10 gallons per day for the two of us, it lasts about two weeks. Filling it can be done by making fresh water from sea water, by carrying it in 5 gallon Jerry jugs, or by pulling the whole boat into a dock. We got along fine with the second two alternatives on Eaux Vives but the first choice frees us from the need to carry, lift and pour 80 pounds of water for every day or plan our trips around water availability.

The water maker works by forcing sea water under high pressure past a membrane with pores so fine H2O can pass through but nothing as large as Na Cl. The high pressure pump is driven off the engine so we also heat some water and give the engine a little work to do every once in a while. Finally, running the engine supplements our power production on cloudy or still days. These all serve to keep the good ship Queen Emma in balance and keep her crew happy. However, salt water under pressure is not a benign substance and water makers are notoriously fickle. Ours had developed great coatings of green fuzz around the containers that held the membrane and the pump that supplies the high pressure pump with water from the sea packed in just as we arrived. (On British boats things don't break, they pack in but can be sorted or set aright once one is provided with the proper kit: in our case a new pump FedEx'd from the motherland). We also finished the planned project of replacing the two short membranes and containers with a brand new long membrane and single container. This eliminates a whole lot of cupric-nickle plumbing and associated green fuzz. The results are beautiful (to us) and we are lighter by 2 ½ boat units.

6 batteries @ 62 poumds each

6 batteries @ 62 poumds each

The batteries lightened the boat by another unit. Batteries only last through a certain number of charge/discharge cycles and must be replaced every several years. The problem with batteries is that they are extremely heavy (worse than water) and lifting them into the dinghy, ferrying them out to the boat and lifting onto the deck and down into the bilge provided us with more exercise than is strickley required of those of us of advancing years. Fortunatley, we did not drop any of them into the sea and we will not be submitting a Youtube video of the adventure.

Lance working on the windlass

Lance working on the windlass

Susie working on the windlass

Susie working on the windlass.






Perhaps more amusing is the repair of the windlass. We have been carrying replacements for the failing switches which raise and lower the anchor for a couple of years now. The job never rose to the top of the list until the down switch became so intermittant that anchoring became iffy and a source of unease between the captain and the bowman. Part of the delay is due to the captains size. I can just about fit my head and one arm in the chain locker where the windlass lives. Fortunately the chain locker can accomodate the entire bowman and the job is done.


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