17/01/13 – A bit of a contrast…

So Juno arrived in St Lucia after a smooth, fast crossing on the ARC, so Paul was very pleased after all his careful preparation paid off. He’d thought of everything, including the specially designed crew shirts that would hide the rum punch stains! The WAGs were just delighted to have them all back on dry land. Everyone seemed to have had a great time and Andrew had dropped into a Buddha-like state of serenity behind his newly grown whiskers…..does strange things to some people these ocean crossings!

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The reception committee, happy to see the boys back…….Juno crew enjoying that very special first rum punch…

After a few celebrations, we finally set sail north from St Lucia, enjoying a couple of quiet days in the Saintes before heading up to Antigua, our chosen destination for Christmas and New Year. It was to be our first Christmas together in a hot climate and on the boat, so we were not too sure how we would like it.

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Landing a decent sized Dorado enroute to Antigua……….outclassed as soon as we arrive in English Harbour…

We were berthed in a busy Nelsons Dockyard and spent Christmas Eve putting up the boat decorations. The original plan was to put lights all the way up the mast, in the shape of a Christmas tree but I had sprained an ankle rather badly the night before, stepping off the pavement…..and, yes, alcohol was involved….but not much….honest. Full recovery was to take a number of weeks, so sincerely hope that won’t happen again.

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Aztec Christmas lights, all around the boat…at deck level…….amazing local carol singers on Christmas Eve…they were really good.

It was a sunny, hot Christmas Day and we enjoyed a traditional brunch before heading off for the midday rum Tot in the historic dockyard Copper and Lumber Store, also attended by a group of sub-mariners and RAF guys we invited who were sailing on a joint services training yacht. Christmas lunch was turkey with an interesting Caribbean twist to the cuisine….very different, but very good too.

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We still managed to open presents from under the tree……Mike Rose, the closest thing to Father Christmas..Bah Humbug.

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All this festivity in the sunshine…it’s hard work you know…….Christmas lunch with John & Lindsay at the Admirals Inn.

All of a sudden the New Year was approaching, along with our guests SueAnne and Ross arriving for a week onboard. On New Years Eve we entered Aztec Dream in her first Caribbean sailing event, the Nelsons Pursuit Race, recreating an event from history. A slower boat sets off from English Harbour, flying the French Tricolour and about 50 yachts set off in hot pursuit, trying to catch her before she reaches the finish line. On of the larger yachts took it quite seriously, with all the crew in periodic dress and a cannon firing at intervals from the fore deck. The Dockyard party that night was fabulous, with the music and dancing carrying on till dawn.
A very Happy New Year to you all.

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New Years Eve Nelsons pursuit yacht race, being overtaken…….The crew rum Tot after the race, at least we caught the Frenchie!

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The party warms up, with plenty of dodgy hats………and even dodgier dancing…..Gangnam style…..

The weather had been a little windy but the forecast for the first few days of 2013 looked good, so sailed up to peace and tranquility of uninhabited Green Island for some quiet time, BBQing, swimming and snorkelling…..to give our guests a bit more of the Caribbean experience.
After Ross and SueAnne heading off to the airport, we only had a few days before we too would be on our way home. There was also some maintenance to be done on Aztec and arrangements to be made to have our fridge and freezer serviced whist we are away (as they were literally falling apart). There was, however, one more party to attend, as Terry (a founder Tot Club member) was hosting his nieces wedding in Antigua.

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Studious Sue….actually found time time to write an essay…….Ross on a desert island, so tempting to just weigh anchor!

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Amanda helps a grumpy guest to enjoy a dance………Maltese Falcon was among the influx of yachts to Falmouth Harbour.

Wow, somewhat of a shock to return to the UK, just in time for the snow. The temperature went from 30c to -8! However, it was great to catch up with friends and, especially, family….and our local butcher even managed to source a turkey for a belated, proper roast. Simon and Helen kindly invited us to spend a long weekend in Switzerland, which made the contrast even more extreme (-15c!). We had a fabulous few days skiing in great company and wonderful scenery.

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Taking a break above the charming village of Morgins……..the girls in the ‘Fighting Cows’ hut.

So now I’m finally getting over a cold and a swollen ankle, we think about returning to warmer climes. The bags are packed to the weight limit with spare parts and books, not much room for anything else….

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