What’s the bad news? My legs are sunburnt, again.
I spent all day at the island while we were in Newfound Bay. Phil and Ben constructed a fenced-in area with a fire pit and a lean-to shelter with a tarp roof. After fooling around for a while with the fire, they dismantled the shelter and left me at the beach. It started raining, so I knew that I had to go into survivor mode and construct a new shelter.
I took it upon myself to improve upon the design of the old shelter using whatever I could find on the beach. I made a lean-to wooden frame and covered the wood beams with any plastic I could. I used vines and bit of rope I found to secure the fixture. It kept me dry. I actually spent most of the day doing just that.
Ben, Phil, and Doug pulled up a barracuda. They threw it back; quite a catch. I would have kept the jawbone at least. Barracuda and tarpon seem to enjoy hiding in the shade under the boat and attacking fish that swim by or get hooked by Phil. This fact, coupled with our bathing habits, adds a bit of excitement to the salt water shower/bath which we do in the water next to the boat.
The boys also caught 2 delicious snapper. Phil was ecstatic, “It’s my dream come true! I just held out some bait in my hand and they came right up to me! Then I got them! The fish came to me!” After lunch we all went snorkeling, though my goggles kept on fogging up, despite spit and anti-fog, so I didn’t see too much. Of the animals there, I did see some fish up under the mangroves, plenty of conch, some sea cucumbers that looked like really big feces (the scientific name for these is donkey-dung sea cucumbers… most appropriate), and several feather-duster worms. It was not as colorful or interesting as the coral reefs in my opinion, and there was a good deal of detritus on the ground from the mangroves.
After a few hours there, we decided to move to Coral Bay. I think it’s rather funny how everything that could go wrong has gone wrong since Ben has arrived. I’m sure he’s thinking, “Man, this cruising stuff is hard. Things always are breaking, you get seasick in big squalls, the anchor doesn’t hold, and the chain doesn’t work.” True, it had been a long day, a long week, to say the least.
It was time to unwind with a few good games of horseshoes. I also learned an important lesson at the bar… things are never what they seem. This applies to everything. Why did the Danforth hold the second time when we really wanted to haul it up and move? It was wrapped around a big rock. Why did the chain not work? Per my grandfather (Wolfgang) it was an inferior quality product. More importantly, how old was the girl that was checking me out at the bar? She was 14!? Ugh! Gross! Scary… in fact, criminal, had it gone any further than conversation. That’s crazy. Gentlemen, it’s time to go back to the boat!
We had hamburgers on the boat, listened to AC/DC (the only hard rock my dad will listen to), and wrote in our journals. I really started something with the journals. Dad saw what I was doing and is now making everyone keep one. I enjoy this, but that isn’t quite true of the others, especially Phil and Ben. At the end of the week, we sailed back to St. Croix. I was so excited to be out of there and now it looks like we’ll be here another week doing repairs, flying Ben home, and making more connections on the island courtesy of Shaun.
The sail back was much, much smoother than the sail there. We narrowly missed a squall front, and just barely squeaked by. All the while the sun was shining, and I fell asleep on the back deck. I woke up sunburnt on my chest and arms; good thing I had the foresight to at least put sunscreen on my face.
After arriving in the slip, dad and I set about buying a new anchor chain. While there was not as much heavy lifting as I expected, this operation was quite tedious. First, dad pulled out our old chain by hand. Next, he went to the trailer where the chain was stored in large barrels and had the proper length of chain cut.
The next step was to cart the chain over to the dock in a barrel; check. Then, braid the rope to a shackle attached to the bitter end of the chain; check. Feed the chain through the gypsy on the windlass, then through the hawse; check, or almost. The chain fit perfectly into the gypsy, but did not want to come out again because it was a snug fit. Basically, for us, it means that we had to install a stripper on the hawse; not the pole dancing kind, but a thin piece of metal that projects into the gypsy and forces the chain links to leave the windlass. For the time being though, we had to use an Allen wrench. After that, dad attached the chain to the anchor. He went to install a stripper only to find that one of the screws in the hawse had broken in the hole and that it would be necessary to use a drill press to remove it. While he dealt with that problem, Phil and Ben left for town to buy a bracelet for Ben…
So while the boys were going out to do their thing, dad instructed me to go to the local grocery store to pick up two 12 packs of Budweiser. En route to the grocery store, a Rasta hailed me from across the street and, after a moment of hasty small talk, he proceeded to spout out some gibberish about Amsterdam. I didn’t know if he was trying to ask me a question or if he was making a declarative statement… the island accent is such that they put stress on the last words of a sentence, so every sentence sounds like a question. Is that a question? I asked him to repeat what he said a couple of times and could only understand the word Amsterdam. I figured it had something to do with marijuana (he’s a Rasta for crying out loud!), but I didn’t know. So I asked him, “What’s that about Amsterdam?” To which he replied, slowly, so that I could understand, “Hey mon, a piece of Amsterdam, you know what I saying, yeah? I’m a Rasta; you should know what I’m talking about.” I told him that I didn’t have any, but he obviously wanted to talk, because he told me all about how wonderful the “crop” in California was when he went there. I could hardly understand what he was saying, so I just smiled and nodded and agreed with whatever he said. He then told me that things weren’t so good on the island in that department, and went on his way; Rasta’s, they’re crazy, but funny. On Anguilla, a Rasta started talking to us on the beach, then pulled out a blunt that he rolled in a marijuana leaf, instead of a piece of paper, and lit up right there. Ganja is everywhere in the islands.
Ben’s mother purchased tickets for him to fly back tomorrow at 5:00 pm. It is Benny boy’s last day as crew on the Adamo!
We will certainly miss him. He and Phil spent a good deal if time making a most noisy contraption, a conch horn. It is a conch shell with the top spire removed from the crown. This leaves a hole into which you can blow. The reverberations of the air passing through this opening creates a monotonic blast that is extremely loud and also quite annoying after Phil repeats the sound fifty or so times. Phil has one, Ben has one for himself, and there is one extra for us. Perfect; this is just what we need: another noisemaking device on board.
We have a sort of to-do list to finish up before Tuesday. On Tuesday we believe will have a weather window for the two day crossing to Guadeloupe, or possibly to the Saints or the Grenadines if the good weather lasts.