Waiting in Jolly Harbour
Waiting it out in Jolly Harbour
We have been tied to the dock at the boatyard in Jolly Harbour since March 18th. We have become very familiar with our surroundings and our environment as we wait , patiently, for our engine to arrive. It has been a long wait with many obstacles placed in our path that have caused such a delay. There really is a concept known as “island time”. The latest update is that our motor is on a boat owned by “Tropical Shipping” which left Miami on Wednesday, it is scheduled to arrive in Antigua on Monday 9th May, sometime. From there it will have to go through customs – we have been advised that this could be a very quick process, or, if the mood takes them, a lengthy process that could take a week or more! We have hired a broker to assist us with the process of claiming our motor and are trying to remain very optimistic that the procedure will be swift. Assuming everything goes according to plan, it will take approximately 3 – 6 days to hook the motor to our transmission, exhaust, shaft etc etc. We have a mechanic here ready and waiting to help John with the hook-up. From there, we will go to nearby island for a “test-run” to try the motor . Then, we will be on our way on a 7 day passage to Bermuda.
Next week we will begin making and freezing meals for our passage home.
We could have been stranded at much worse places than this. Its unfortunate that this has happened as it bought our trip to a grinding halt. Its a positive thing that the severity of the engine problem was discovered now, and not in the middle of the ocean as we sailed home, or in the middle of our sailing season. I truly believe there is a reason for everything. So we wait.
Jolly Harbour is a very pleasant place to be. Its a fairly new complex of villas, marinas and docks, a large shopping complex and a large casino. It has clearly suffered from the effects of the recent and ongoing recession. When we were here 5 years ago, it was much busier, we saw more yachts, and the villas appeared to be occupied, now, the casino is closed, the building going into rapid decay, a lot of the stores are empty, villas are boarded up and the docks are empty.
Its still very pretty, the roads are lines with vibrant hibiscus trees, palm trees and huge cacti plants. We go to the beach every day. Because we have so much time on our hands, we have embarked on an exercise program that consists of several brisk walks through the villas, and a long swim combined with a long beach walk, every day! We are feeling fitter and stronger!
The girls and I are still going to the local school at Bolans, the village close by. We are doing some one on one reading with a couple of kids who are struggling. It is quite an eye-opener to see how school differs from ours back home. We are very fortunate, despite all the critism we may have about or education system. The teachers are very dedicated and are dealing with many social issues that are not as prevalent at home. Such as, the kids here have parents who are unable to read or write, so education is not a high priority at home, the kids do not have a solid support system, no-one cares if home work is done, or if they get to school on time. And of course, drugs and alcohol issues are a constant threat. I notice the teachers are constantly trying to reinforce the kids with positive messages and encouraging them to be responsible for themselves and use positive self-talk.
Over the past couple of weeks we have noticed that there are fewer boats around. Most of the long term cruisers are heading to their summer destinations for the upcoming hurricaine season. A lot of boats are heading to Trinidad and even further south, some head north to Purto Rica and a lot head to the Meditteranian. No one will be here during the season unless they are hauled out safely in a boatyard. We too, will be on our way HOPEFULLY within about 10 days so that our own season can begin.
I have become very comfortable living in Antigua. It has become very familiar to me and I am sure I will miss it. The bus route is as familiar as if I were driving into Baddeck, we recognise familiar faces and the scents and sounds of the Caribbean are no longer ‘foreign” Its a very easy way of life, maybe thats not the right word, easy, (life is not easy for many people here, especially women) but simpler, less complicated perhaps. The pace of life is slower, people have less ‘stuff’ less possessions. Its astounding to think of all the things we have in our homes and how we continue to buy and collect more stuff. I love to drive through the villages late in the afternoon and watch how families gather on the porch in the cool of the day, to just sit, sit and watch the world go by. The sounds of dogs barking, roosters crowing and children playing, and music blaring. The heady scent of frangipani flowers, the smell of barbecued chicken, coconut oil, and the not so pleasant smell of the open gutters after a rainfall . I love the way the bus stops in the middle of the road to allow a herd of goats, or a stray dog, or a hen and her chicks, or a woman carrying a large load on her head, or a group of small children or an elderly person to cross the road. I will miss the colourful clothing, where sequins can be worn any time of day! the exotic hats that the Rastas wear- yes I am going to miss this place. So for the remaining days we have left. I plan to soak it all up and fill my senses with all these sights, sounds, scents that have become a part of my everyday living. I am very very grateful.
Posted by Amoeba Sailing Tours on Sun, May 08, 2011 at 12:03 PM