It’s a bittersweet day as I sit here in Falmouth Harbor, Antigau, where we began our winter of cruising a few months ago as tomorrow Brenda an I fly home to CT and our “land home”.
It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post but with our friends Peter and Jane aboard with every day busy sightseeing or moving to yet another island, there has hardly been time to write.
I have to say that I am looking forward to being back on land and getting our home and gardens up and running again after a long winters rest. The daffodils should be in bloom unless the deer haven’t nipped them down to the ground. I planted dozens last fall so, fingers crossed.
Peter and Jane were with us for nearly two weeks as we moved Pandora north from St Lucia to Antigua, about 200 miles, visiting St Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Les Saintes and Guadeloupe along the way. I will admit that it sometimes felt like a forced march as we moved nearly every day and the winds were pretty strong, and from north of east, so we were constantly close-reaching when making our way between islands in the ocean swells.
Brenda did pretty well but yesterday she was uncomfortable as we slogged our way the last 50 miles from Guadeloupe, hit by three squalls that brought gusty winds and very confused seas.
It was good to be back in the calm of Falmouth Harbor. And, speaking of Antigua, after a winter of moving from island to island and paying generally $5 or less to clear into every new country, I had forgotten how expensive it is to arrive in Antigua when I was presented with a bill for $150 in English Harbor yesterday.
Having said that, I still think that Antigua is the best place to make landfall to begin or end a season of cruising the Caribbean. And, when things break someone to put things right is just a phone call away. Unfortunately, on that score, I have an engine guy coming out today to look at my dodgy engine cooling system. Fingers crossed that the “fix” won’t be too expensive.
I’ll admit that it is particularly galling that the problem, salt water getting into the fresh water cooling system, is exactly what I paid more than $500 to “fix” at the Deltaville Boat Yard last summer, as part of that horrific and ridiculously expensive upgrade to my battery system that went so badly.
If you ever consider leaving your boat in Deltaville there are plenty of yards that do good work. Deltaville Boat Yard, where I had such a bad experience, generally does good work. And, you are likely to be happy if you don’t want to hear from them regularly, have months to wait for them to complete the job and are willing to give them a blank checkbook. Enough said about that I guess.
After a few weeks at home, I will be returning to Antigua to begin my run north with Pandora at the beginning of May, complete with a planned stop in Bermuda.
Being home will be nice as getting things done is always a lot easier on land but I will surely miss the beautiful sunsets and ever changing clouds like this shot that I took in Les Saintes, a lovely island archipelago on the south end of Guadeloupe. And, speaking of clouds, I have written often of the Cloud Appreciation Society and their daily “clouds”, photos of clouds chosen from photos submitted by their nearly 60,000 members. I have submitted many of my own photos over the last few years and am always thrilled when one is chosen to “publish” when they send it out to all their members.
Happily, a few days ago my photo was sent out, a shot that I took in the mountains of Dominica when we walked down into an extinct volcano to see some Sulphur vents. I’m not sure but think that this photo is the 5th or 6th of mine that they have used. Pretty neat and thrilling to see when it happens.
This spot was high in the mountains and the landscape was made up of giant tree ferns bathed in near constant mist from the clouds that form over the tops of the “islands that kiss the clouds”.
Along with publishing photos, sent to members every day, they provide detailed descriptions of what the photos document. So, here’s my photo and what they had to say about it.
|“Nicknamed ’The Nature Island’ of the Caribbean, Dominica lies in the West Indies and boasts mountainous rainforests abundant with plants and animals. They also host a fair few clouds, like these Stratus spotted by Bob Osborn (Member 54,749), who tells us the island’s mountain peaks are almost always shrouded in clouds. These, Bob explains, ‘keep everything lush, including the giant tree ferns that are abundant here.’ But the flow of nourishment is a two-way street. Not only do the clouds help maintain the forests, but the forests in turn contribute to the formation of the clouds. Trees in rainforests introduce moisture into the air through the process of transpiration. This is the tree equivalent of sweating, when moisture evaporates from their leaves to help keep them cool. The moist air rises and can cool enough to condense into cloud. In time, the clouds release rain and hand their moisture back to the trees, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem in which land and sky support one another. “|
So, here we are, heading home again, and for the 9th time in 11 years, I will soon be bringing Pandora back north for the summer.
I’m already thinking about projects that I will do aboard her this summer and hope that we will have some time to do a bit of cruising in New England. Perhaps we might get really lucky and get our oldest granddaughter Tori aboard so we can introduce her to Pandora. One can always hope…
Yes, heading home soon and a cloud worth sharing. Check and check…
Stand by as there is more to come. And, with Starlink aboard Pandora, my posts on passage should even include photos, of clouds no doubt…