Settling into life aboard Pandora.

It’s Saturday afternoon and we have been aboard Pandora for a week since heading back to Antigua from the US.

We are now anchored in our “normal spot” in Falmouth Harbor and are getting rain showers every few hours, night and day.  It is mostly sunny and then the skies open up for perhaps ten minutes and then it’s sunny again.  As they say “into every life a little rain must fall”.  And, of course a rainbows follow.  This one at dawn yesterday. For the first few days we moved over to historic Nelson’s Dockyard and tied up to the quay.  This involved Mediterranean mooring where we dropped our anchor out in the harbor and backed up to the marina wall, using the anchor to hold ourselves off and safe from hitting the dock.  It’s a tricky process but after you get the hang of it, not too bad.    When we moor this way, Brenda is up forward dropping the anchor.  I power backwards, using the bow thruster to steer the boat.  I say not too hard but my heart is racing the whole time as we always have to do this between a few other boats with feet on each side and of course there is always a nasty cross wind.   And, to add a bit of fun, this is a very popular spectator sport, as is all docking.  Sometimes it feels more like Nascar with the excitement of crashes always a moment away.

In spite of this, it’s very convenient to be able to step off of Pandora right onto the dock. We had some canvas repairs done while we have been in Antigua and that included a new mast boot, to keep the water out of the boat.  Actually, this “fix” included an inner boot of rubber covered by the canvas.  That part was done in Annapolis.

The finished boot looks very sharp.Even more impressive from the back as it’s pretty intricate with multiple Velcro flaps to keep it affixed. .  It’s a bit hard to see but there is a lot going on including fittings for the boom vang and lots of other stuff to work around.  This is what’s under the new canvas boot.This has been a major source of leaking down below, especially on this last passage so I hope that things are finally solved.  Fingers crossed.

Brenda’s also getting settled in and has met some new friends who knit.  They meet twice a week at the Antigua Yacht Club for a few hours.  A very nice group.  The knitter on the right lives in Antigua year round having visited years ago and fell in love with the island. All that electrical upgrades we had done on Pandora over the summer are paying off with plenty of excess electricity to power the boat.  Lots of hot water and I am thinking of having a change done on my electrical panel that will allow us to run our washing machine off of the batteries as well.  We have a very powerful inverter to run appliances and it seems pretty clear that we can use a lot more power with the wind generator, new solar panels and those power hungry lithium batteries to suck all that juice up.

Here’s the solar array and wind generator.   This combo is a remarkable supply of power in the sunny and windy Caribbean.  Of course, Falmouth Harbor in the background.  Beyond the entrance, the island of Monserrate, home to one of the active volcanoes in the Caribbean. Of course, it’s Saturday afternoon and it’s time for club racing.  This lovely classic sloop tacked back and forth before heading out for the races.   What a contrast to all the huge mega yachts lined up cheek to jowl in the Antigua Yacht Club marina. And, speaking of clubs.  I belong to plenty and enjoy flying the flags.    Of course, the Antigua courtesy flag followed by the “white penant” of the Royal Naval Tot Club of Antigua and Barbuda.  Of course, I am a card carrying member of this terrific group.  Below that, a big Salty Dawg rally flag. And speaking of the White Pennant.  This beautiful classic yacht, Shemara, built in 1938, pulled in today flying a White Ensign, which is very similar to the Tot Club flag.  This version signifies that someone aboard is a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron.  I have seen this yacht before and wrote about her in this post.  With one million man hours in the restoration, she deserves to be beautiful. On the port side…  The Salty Dawg battle flag and club burgee, the “flying fish” of the Ocean Cruising Club and finally, the Seven Seas Cruising Association Commodore Burgee.   Brenda and I earned that one for living aboard for 12 out of 18 months a number of years ago and also sailing at least 1,000 miles in that  season as well.Beyond that, not a lot to talk about.  Brenda’s birthday is coming up on the 15th and she’s none too happy about being away from family so I will have to work hard to make it up to her.

I guess that’s one part of living aboard that she will never settle into.  Other than that,  we are settling pretty well into life aboard Pandora, here in Antigua.

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