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  • Well, on the last 15 minutes of our trip as zeroed in on our destination harbor.... we were about to take down the sails and turn on the engine when a very not- so-funny thing happened.... the engine didn't turn on. And the cut into the harbor was narrow with rocks situated on both sides and the wind was coming from a poor angle to try and sail into it.... so we went back out to sea and Mike began trouble shooting the root of our malfunctioned engine.
    An hour later, Mike saw that our main fuse to the engine had failed.... miraculously, we happened to have a working spare onboard! And we turned the engine on and heard a beautiful sound, that of rumbling and pumping and water squirting out the back! And the next 4 days were, again, drying everything out, cleaning, and finding laundry that cost under $65 /load.... we found a lady who did it for $45 / load. But the following days we hiked around
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  • Up until now, Mike and I had been sailing and anchoring/mooring/docking Gaia just the two of us. For four months we’ve traveled on this 42 foot beauty together. We sleep in a ‘bed’ (in boat jargon, we say berth), called the V-berth (aptly named because it’s in the shape of a V), where our toes touch every night. The living room, dinning room, “back door” (mid hatch), bathroom, and kitchen are all in the same 12.5 by 8.5 feet of space. In case your wondering… yes… yes I did measure that. And in all of this time, in this confined area, and tried with uncomfortable and dangerous sailing conditions at times… we’re still really happy. Any differences of opinions we work out. And I think the worst argument we ever got into was over an anchoring location 2 months ago. That said, I was super excited to have our first visitors in the Caribbean and a bit hesitant… it’s been so long since I’ve seen my Boston friends… how does this friendship thing work again…. will they remember me? do they still like me? I hope Gaia doesn’t make them puke. All these crazy thoughts were lost the second I saw their beautiful (cough..pale…cough) New England faces come out of the airport security line in Antigua! We had a phenomenal dinner; Kristen had an exceptional bass dinner and then we had drinks at The Lime where the bar counter is 6 feet off the ground.
    The next morning we moved to a more scenic part of English Harbor; and snorkeled, saw the museum, explored the old fort, and stumbled upon some spectacular rum. We were only in line to get a gallon of water… but one thing led to another and we had English Harbor rum. That night we hiked to Shirley Point and saw an amazing swimming hole. It was a simple hike and made even better by the steel drum band and local bbq on top.

    The sun set, the air was cool the grass was soft the steel drums melodic… life with Kristen and Z was sublime. And then Kristen kicked a tarantula.
    Yes. Kristen… kicked… a tarantula. And if this picture alone makes you unsettled just think, Kristen was wearing sandals…. So we started the hike back down in the dark with only one headlamp and an iPhone for light. We all moved fairly agile down the path packed with rocks, mud, and roots and then Mike comes to a sudden halt, (Kristen in front) and declares ‘no way’ as he shines his headlamp at the forrest floor. This big guy laid curled up. Mike explained that Kristen had just kicked something and it moved. We saw hermit crabs the size of “your face” and chased schools of fishes jumping out of the water in the dinghy. It was a great night… maybe the rum punch was spiked.

    Our first sail was from English Harbor to Green Island and good ole Zirolli was behind the helm the entire time.

    We took a break for a late lunch behind a reef where the water was really inviting. In very shallow water and a bit of a current, Zirolli expertly hitched a dock line onto the mooring. And once secured, of course we jumped in and swam in that perfect turquoise-light blue water. After our fill of swimming, we made anchor on the Northeast side of Green Island for the night, which was a real treat. You see, the trade winds always blow from a general Easterly direction…. and East of Antigua is the entire Atlantic Ocean. This allows for some pretty big waves to build up but a reef protects this anchorage from those nasty seas. So our view to the East was the endless Atlantic which falls off into the horizon.
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  • The following morning we made way for Jumby bay, where all the hoity toity folks go to vacation and I can see why. It was perfect. Z anchored for us.

    Our third sail Kristen took over from Jumby Bay to Deep Bay She says crazy things like ‘if I was an actual sailor, I’d probably be better at this.’ but I’ve never had to give her pointers on sailing and she kicks tarantulas and saves dinghies from drifting out to sea. Again, yes. Badass Kristen saved our dinghy. We dinghy-ed to a nearby island to snorkel. We were all floating around, snorkeling, and Kristen looks up and doesn’t see Mike or Kirsten or … a dinghy on land! She looked out into bay and there was our dinghy floating away! K and Zirolli wrestled ole ‘Angry Horse’ (my nickname for the dinghy) back to land for us!

    In Deep Bay we explored more old ruins and we made pizza. I’m starting to see Mike and I don’t get tired of forts ( or volcanos). I think the sun and rum had started to affect us because we all didn’t make it past 10:00 that night.

    We sailed back into Dickenson Bay into the wind and enjoyed a last hurrah dinner on land in a British pub / restaurant (trip advisors reviews said it best with a blunt ‘if you’re not British, don’t bother.’) . Despite the review us “non-Limeys” enjoyed the food, and outdoor seating.

    nd on Feb 13 we said our goodbyes and went on our ways. Different paths to our separate duties. As they left, I laughed at my crazy tarantula-kicking and amazing sailing friends, glad that nothing had changed after not seeing them for months on end.
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  • Early up again and watched the ship pull into Antigua still amazes me how the drive these huge ships into these tiny ports.
    The weather isn't brilliant at the minute, we've got the Caribbean Liquid Sunshine... we know it as rain...
    But it is warm and going to rise to around 80° according to the weather forecast.
    Anyway I believe the weather at home is rubbish at the that helps....LOL.
    Boy has the weather changed its 10am ish and its topping at least 80°.
    Just going to have a walk around the town, which is normally all we do at these ports, unless there's something we really want to see.
    The ship and the getting there is the best my humble opinion anyway
    ..... First impressions of St Johns, which is where we are in Antigua, are, good people seem really friendly as normally is the case in the Caribbean.
    Even the taxi and minibus drivers are very polite when you refuse them.
    The reply from them is always "have a good day sir".
    Had a look around the old cricket ground which I must have seen on tv 70s or 80s, right across the road is the fire station with its two immaculate fire engines
    Then just around the corner is the prison, which was built in 1735 and is still in use and has 300 inmates.
    After about an hour or so I took Sheila back to the ship and I went exploring, looking for a local bar.
    I don't like the tourist type bars they have by the ship in any port you go to.
    They are not really authentic.
    Anyway I found what I was looking was called "Vics Place" and I was the only white face.
    I had a brilliant hour or so watching cricket on tv with the locals.
    The evening consisted of a quiz (again)... a brilliant singers and dancers Broadway show. And chatting with some great company we've met.
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