Antigua-Preparing for Solo Sailing Adventures

Once all my friends had left me behind on this island to wait out parts for a new autopilot, I had no choice but to get to work. I started to design this blog and wrote. A lot. I sat out on my boat at sunsets, in cafes and bars with wifi, the random stranger that said hi was the extent of my social life. One guy I met actually hated to see me struggle so much with my website design as I was so frustrated I couldn’t make the page look like I wanted to; he insisted on buying me the Premium package so that I could make any changes I desired! Thank you Dave for the help with the blog and the gin and tonic!!

On the street I would from time to time see Dino who fixed my inflatable; that always allowed for a little conversation as he always was checking in on me to see how I was doing as well as how my boats were. My anchorage neighbors from Marblehead were sitting at the café ashore every morning so that lead to several a brief chat with them to explain to their friends what I was doing and that yes, indeed, I am out there alone on my boat. And, yes, that was how I intended to start sailing around the Caribbean-solo.

Once my autopilot came in and was on island my life was overtaken with scheduling Capt Green to come install it. He seemingly was the most in demand man on the island! Yet, he assured me I would have my autopilot installed in a few days and before the end of the week so I could sail away, too, from Antigua. I had to shuttle Capt Green out to the boat so that he could assess the installation and see what was needed. I had also needed a new depth sounder which inadvertently also had display for speed so that was an additional assessment and effort to be sure that that was all compatible with my old system and worked correctly.   Capt Green spent quite a bit of time sorting out the instruments with me. So for a good three days, I shuttled him back and forth and helped out with supplying this or that tool or cable installation while he also tried to squeeze in some time on a neighbor’s boat or two.

All the while I was trying to prepare and provision for a big sail away from Antigua (to _DSC0002Dominica!), I had to make a trip to St Johns to find a set of good quality, not overly expensive, and yet appropriate fitting snorkel gear. Additionally, just outside of St John, was the only place on island that I could find a kayak paddle. A bus trip adventure to St John was finally in order. My observation of the streets of St Johns was that they were busy yet not glamorous Caribbean for a capital City. The cruise ships were docked right close by to the bus terminal, which was large and organized.   Within a few minute walk there was a shopping center with taxis drivers hustling those passing by to shuttle the cruise guests right away to other more desirable Caribbean destinations around the island.

Gear was mostly easily found and a means of getting to outdoor world for the paddle was obtained. The bus terminal that you get into from English Harbor is a different terminal where you need to grab a bus to the destinations in the other direction of the island. For a small island in the Caribbean, I was quite surprised by this need but happy to see the public transportation infrastructure well in place. Yet, apparently the bus terminals are quite a distance away from each other but don’t worry, these sorts of issues just add to the adventure in Melissa’s World. The very kind lady at the bus terminal hailed down her friend that was driving down the street and insisted I get in and get a ride to the opposite side of town with her friend. Kenny was great and decided that it would be overall easier if he just drove me to the store as he wasn’t sure I would be able to get a bus back. How I lucked out with such a great deal that came together in a snap of a finger, I will definitely consider great karma or simply the best of luck!

I was back to English Harbor in time to catch the sunset, write some more, and sat eager to try out my new snorkel gear and get a paddle in on the kayak the next day! The next morning I was on my way to shore and not 20 feet from the pier a strange guy came running over to where I was heading with the dinghy yelling to me asking if I was the girl on the boat all alone. Ok, strange dude, why would I admit that to you as I haven’t even hit_DSC0105 land yet, turned off my motor, or had any sort of introduction. He continued on to say that
he wanted to crew on my boat as he clearly knew I was planning to head out. I said no. He then desperately claimed that he was stuck and he needed a ride out (implying out of Antigua) to Guadeloupe or Martinique or something like that. I said no. I apologized for being so blunt but I told him I was taking on NO crew. In fact, husband number 2 wanted to come down and sail around with me, but I told him that I wanted to get out do this on my own. Once I sailed off Antigua and to other islands, I would reconsider based on how I felt then. At this time, I was so eager and excited to get back onto the ocean and sail in peace. Nobody was welcome as I sailed out of Antigua on my own. And this random guy on shore, I had no idea who this guy was and I was completely put off by his approach. What happened to pleasantries and conversation before trying to barge into someone’s life? Especially one of a single, solo female on a boat.

I continued on my day as I had plans to finish up some Wi-Fi business, probably a blog or fb update and grab some fresh fruits and vegetables at Mama J’s roadside stand in _DSC0003Falmouth. Mama J will sit there and explain what all the fruits are, how to cook them, and where they came from. I was excited to finally need eggs again as I had stocked up on quite a few farm fresh eggs on Bermuda. Mama’s eggs were from a farm nearby and she always threw an extra handful of herb or a fruit into my bag. I loved buying produce from her. I went onto the market in Falmouth where I could find other fresh produce that Mama J didn’t have like lettuce, cilantro, and eggplant. That day I ran into the guy…who introduced himself as Jahvorn- he was a farmer who brought in the farm fresh produce to the store! He showed me his local grown goodies and said I was welcome to come out to his farm….the next day. What?! I was planning on leaving by 6am the next day! Oh, the dilemmas I encounter.

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