Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sailing to Christmas

With the sea conditions improved, it was time to leave St. Lucia. Antigua was our destination for Christmas and we only had a week to get there.
Light winds gave us the opportunity to fly the seldom-used spinnaker. What a beautiful sight against the blue sea and sky!
It was great sailing along the coast of Dominica at 4 knots with just over 5 knots of wind. So peaceful, so calm, no pounding, no beating to windward.

Time to think, time to appreciate this life we live.

It was really hot in the mid-day sun with very little breeze. When the spinnaker was up it offered some shade to sit in. When the wind died completely, I did the island thing and pulled out an umbrella.

We moved quickly, sailing 5 of the next six days. The first day was from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia to St. Pierre, Martinique 47 N.M. Day 2 was from Martinique to Portsmouth, Dominica 54 N.M. There we were greeted by Alexis, our favorite tour guide/water taxi driver who stopped by to chat for awhile. We promised him we'd do some hiking our next time through. Day 3 was a short trip of 22 N.M. to Les Saintes. The weather report continued to look good so we couldn't resist stopping for a day to enjoy this favorite spot of ours. The next day was a 32 N.M. sail to Deshaies, Guadeloupe and finally, 44 N.M. to Falmouth Harbour, Antigua. We'd made it in time for Christmas!

Showers formed over Dominica shortly after we left. This was the view behind us....

... and this was the view of Les Saintes in front of us. Two completely different weather days just a few miles apart.

Hobie Cats on the beach in Bourg, Les Saintes.

The view of Montserrat blowing ash into the air as we sailed to Antigua. The volcano has been quite active lately.
Our friends Pat and Carol on S/V Songbird were in Falmouth Harbour when we arrived. We made plans to spend Christmas together.

We arrive at Songbird on Christmas Eve to see Santa with Christmas Carol.

Setting the table for Christmas Eve dinner.

Pat pops the cork on a bottle of champagne for us.

Carol & Wendy.

Jim lends a hand in the galley.
You can't have too much garlic!

Men in the galley. It's a beautiful thing!

Thanks to Pat & Carol for a beautiful evening.
Christmas Day and it was off to English Harbour where there is a social gathering each Christmas. Cruisers and islanders gather in Nelson's Dockyard to drink champagne, listen to music and visit with friends.

We head straight for the champagne!


It's not the champagne that makes me dance while I walk, it's the music. Well, maybe the champagne helps a little.

The party takes place right along the waterfront in front of the mega-yachts. The champagne sales benefit a local charity so I guess our indulging actually did a little good!

I wonder what it's like to have a boat that's big enough to hold an 8 foot Christmas Tree on the deck?

Who's that climbing the rigging?

Nelson's Dockyard is a beautiful, historic sight from the 1700's that has been restored. Once a British Navy shipyard with Admiral Nelson in command it now houses restaurants, shops, a bakery, laundry, hotel, sail loft, customs and immigration, a museum and more.

Jim plays soldier in the museum.

Admiral Nelson keeping a stern eye on things. Didn't know the admiral was into lipstick!

Dinner was in a beautifully restored copper and lumber store, now a restaurant and hotel.

The restaurant, just off of the courtyard.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!