10/12/12 – We’re off again……

Following an interesting summer(ish) in the UK, enjoying the Jubilee pageantry, the exciting olympics and paralympics, catching up with family and friends, films, theatre and concerts……as well as numerous jobs, maintenance and projects around the house…..it was back to boatyard in Grenada to find out how Aztec Dream faired in the hurricane season. All looked good and we spent 3 days preparing to relaunch (always a nervous time for certain people!). Unfortunately, it was only when we had sailed 50 miles, in St Vincent and the Grenadines, that we found a seacock that had been missed by the boatyard during servicing….it was seized solid. Back we went and the poor boat had to be lifted out of the water again for the offending item to be replaced. There followed a series of heads (toilet) related issues, that required a number of unpleasant operations to fix…..but enough of that….all is fine now.

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Project 1 complete…finally….the barn restoration….    ….and Project 2….the outdoor kitchen, all ready for next summer.

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The nervous (1st) relaunch…….                    The offending ‘heads’ seacock…..

Ross, my brother, joined us in Grenada for a couple of weeks cruising and we started off his visit by going Sport Fishing as a birthday treat. It was a great day out but unfortunately there was little action on the lines, just a couple of bites, so nothing to show for that fuel expended. So we set off north towards the Grenadines, put the fishing line out from Aztec and catch a Dorado within 10 minutes! Very tasty it was too.

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Well he looks the part, even if no fish were caught…………..the Dorado before it became supper…
Ross seemed to slot into the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle quite well, enjoying the sunsets and associated sundowners. He’d always wanted to have BBQ lobster on the beach and he appeared to enjoy it so much that he became a bit of a celebrity on Union Island. ‘Crusher’, as the locals nicknamed him, did seem to spend an awfully long time ensuring that all the lobster meat was accounted for!

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Spectacular sunset in Bequia……………………….and the sundowners were pretty good too at the Whale Bar….

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‘Crusher’ enjoying the Caribbean lifestyle……….and in action, living up to his nickname….

There are always some sights along the way. On Grenada, they are trying to create a unique marine park, which involves a series of sculptures on the seabed that you can dive or snorkel on (what’s wrong with fish and coral reefs?). It did create a bizarre spectacle where they are craning a load of life-size statues into the the water.
There are always reminders that help you pay attention to the navigation too.

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Creation of the ‘Art’ marine park in Grenada, looks crowded already………his guy just missed the gap…

All too soon it was the end of ‘Crusher’s trip and we spent a log day travelling up to St Lucia so that he could connect with the flight home. It was his second visit….the first one involving wedding rings, but he didn’t seem to mind revisiting the scene of the crime. The final evening was a happy one, celebrating at the Rainforest Hideaway in Marigot Bay.

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Revisiting the ‘scene of the crime’….talk us through it ‘Crusher’………….dinner at the Rainforest Hideaway…

Amanda and I had also decided to revisit old haunts and headed up to Rodney Bay for the finish of this years Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which we participated in last year. In a rash moment we volunteered to be part of the ARC finishing line team, talking to the incoming yachts after their 3000 mile trip across the Atlantic, timing their race finish and guiding them in for that all important first rum punch. I write this as we wait for the next arrival, half way through a 48 hour duty stint, still trying to figure out when we’re supposed to get any sleep.

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Aztec Dream ‘on station’ on the ARC finishing line……..hang on a minute, there’s paperwork too…

The incredible enthusiasm (and often relief) of the arriving crews is always amazing. Some have a relaxed crossing, with all the comforts of home and a gourmet chef, others focus on speed and the hell with everything else. The first boat across the line was ‘Vaquita’, a small (40 foot) but very fast racing machine…no room for cup holders or anywhere to chill the champagne!

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The interior of ‘Vaquita’….yes, that’s where you sleep too!……..even the finish line has it’s compensations.

Our friends on the yacht ‘Juno’ are due to arrive tomorrow night….and their WAG’s are here already, so I suspect there will be some partying involved too later in the week, before we head off north again.

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