Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Antigua Week 6

Here it is - the important news of the week - Karen won at domino's last Sunday. I knew you were waiting for that. It was a hard fought battle at the Mad Mongoose Restaurant in Falmouth Harbour with a total of 8 players vying for the honours. I, of course, played brilliantly until the last two rounds. I ended up with so many dots I thought I was looking at the night sky.

There have not been many new arrivals to the anchorage, mostly departures. Paramour III and Ariel have left heading North. Chinook Arch will be leaving early next week. We did meet Stitches briefly before they had to return to Trinidad. It is time to meet some new people I guess. Fortunately, we found a good book exchange at Jane's Yacht Service. We managed to trade 9 paperbacks so we now have a whole new collection to choose from. We do go through a lot of books. It is interesting that, as the selection is limited, we read and enjoy many different books that we would not normally choose to read at home.

In answer to the other cliff hangers - I know I have kept you waiting long enough - I still have not sorted out cricket. I cannot even figure out the scoring although I listen intently to the scores as they are announced on English Harbour Radio. And we still have not received a second quote - four weeks after the incident. We have, however, started negotiations with the insurance company on the first quote. We will know more next week but the pause button is still engaged on the DVD of our trip. We are lucky to have an excellent insurance agent, Bob Raymond, of BC Yacht Insurance. He has been wonderful in helping us through these times and in trying to keep the process moving. We would recommend BC Yacht without hesitation.

So once again, stay tuned. Will we go or will we stay? How many books will we read? Who will arrive? This and more will be revealed next week.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Antigua - Week 5

Well, our anchor chain has more hair on it than a Husky in the dead of winter. I hate to think what our prop looks like.. It will definitely need a dive and clean before we move - if I can find it. But, the good news is - the quoting/repair process is rocketing forward at glacial speeds. Vagus has been prodded, poked, hammered and inspected, and we got our first quote. Hopefully the other quote will come this week and we can start making plans. We have also found out that we can't get our boat hauled too soon as there is not a room, there is not even a cupboard, available in Antigua from March 24 to April 8 as several games of the World Cricket Cup are being played here. People are even chartering yachts to use them as floating hotel rooms for this period. Never could get the hang of cricket. Someone said that it was the Brits attempt at defining eternity. It sure is popular though. Even Canada has a team playing in the cup.

We finally got a local SIM card and local phone number for our cell phone. This has greatly simplified communication with the various companies. Before this we had to hang out on the boat, listening to the VHF radio for people to call. Now we can leave the boat, walk about with the cell phone in my pocket and, like everyone else, wait for a merry little jingle to page me. It still amazes me that cell phones are so inexpensive here and so expensive in Canada. The process took all of 10 minutes and about $16CAN and we have a local number. We had to take two local buses through the countryside to reach the cell phone office. One bus took us into the main terminal in St. John's - near where all the cruise ships dock. And the other took us out to a mall containing the Digicel phone office. Our total bus fare just about equaled the cost of the SIM card.

One nice thing is that we are in a cross roads for cruisers coming North and going South. Paramour III has been here all week - we had planned to sail to the US with Paramour - and on Friday, Ariel came in. (We celebrated New Year's on Ariel.) Chinook Arch is here getting a new mainsail. We are really lucky and thankful to have friends about to get us away from the boat repair blues.

So stay tuned - will we or won't we get a second quote? Will we like the quotes? Will the insurance company like the quotes? Will I suddenly discover cricket? Who will show up at the anchorage? And, most importantly, who will win at dominoes this afternoon? What a cliffhanger to end this on! More next week.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Antigua Update

This update is tough for me to write. I have been putting it off. Actually I was not planning on writing anything but good friends said I should. So here it goes.

It was a clear, sunny Saturday morning, February 24th to be exact. Karen and I were preparing Vagus to leave Falmouth Harbour and cruise to Nonsuch Bay with two other boats for a bit of snorkeling and beaches. We were on the foredeck getting ready to lift our dinghy for the trip - when travelling we store the dinghy on the foredeck. We noticed the sailboat beside us, who was also at anchor, raise his mainsail. When next we looked up, this boat was sailing directly at Vagus with all sails filled. We shouted to no avail. The boat kept sailing on a direct course to Vagus. Quickly it became obvious it was going to hit us. We grabbed onto the shrouds. A crew member from the other boat raced forward to try to fend off. Fortunately, Karen shouted at him to get out of the way. He brought back his foot just as a loud crack resounded through the anchorage. The bow of 20 tons of boat (Vagus is 8 tons) travelling at several knots had just crashed into Vagus aft of amidships. Vagus heeled over from the impact. We were stunned. Luckily no one was injured. But our season had ended. Vagus now sat with a split down the hull and a crumpled, holed deck. Interior cabinets and woodwork had been shifted. We were not going anywhere for a long while.

So the last two weeks have been been tough. We are into dealing with the claim (his insurance company has been good and stepped in to take responsibility). Bear in mind, in any accident, insurance never covers all your costs or the inconvenience that you experience. We were taking Vagus home this year. That plan is over. Now we are trying to get our boat fixed. The yards in Antigua are busy, busy - this is the height of sailing season and we are competing with Mega yachts for their attention. The process is slow. We are not sure how this will play out. Only time will tell. We are lucky in having a number of our cruising friends come by to help us out, give us words of encouragement and lift our spirits. Without them, it would be a lot more difficult. And Antigua does have some good craftsman for doing the work (when they are available).

I will try to keep updating this site on our progress. We have had so many e-mails from friends and family that I am not sure who I have or haven't updated. I hope this site helps. Don't expect much fast, though. Our life at the moment seems more "wait and stew" than actual action. But life goes on, and this afternoon we are going to Shirley Heights with friends for some Pan music and BBQ. We can still have fun!