21 Apr 2011

[Captains Blog] Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

Mother Nature can be a real harridan - one moment we are battling against raging winds, high seas and otherwise uncomfortable sailing conditions, the next, we are totally becalmed. Unable to sail in the slightest of zephyrs we wallow at anchor in the bay at Falmouth Harbour among the racing yachts hoping to see a change in the weather before race week starts on Friday. Some hope. We downloaded the Grib weather files yesterday evening and the forecast is only for 5 knots of wind for the coming few days. Still (a good word to use here) it gives us the chance to remind ourselves what our legs are for and do some walking ashore.

Speaking of this, Ian (a sailing friend) and I went looking for a watermaker services company to get some cleaning solution for the watermaker yesterday. I had noticed one previously on the side of the road as we passed on the bus, and knew it was somewhere on the left side of the road. Off we went, two mad Englishmen (sadly no dogs to be found) walking out in the mid-day sun on the campaign to acquire said cleaning solution. Three miles later, which seemed to us that we were half way nearly to St John's, having looked at every sign appearing in the distance on the left had side of the road, we chanced upon a police station. We went in and asked the very laid back police if they knew where the watermaker services people were. 'No, there's a water company a few miles up the road, perhaps they will know' came the non-commital reply. We decided that we were not going to find it that way and duly left to head back towards Falmouth Harbour and wait at the next bus stop for a ride.

Flagging the bus down we boarded and headed back in a very convoluted way to Falmouth. The buses here are not like in the UK. The drivers will turn off their normal route to drop passengers at their gates if they have shopping to carry. Perhaps a lesson for the independent UK bus companies to improve their service and customer satisfaction ratings? Sure enough, on the bus I saw the offending sign flat against the front of the building, and not sticking out into the road as I expected. 'Bus Stop!' I shouted. Another good feature of the service, they will stop where you want. Off we got, and within minutes had done the deal and were walking the relatively short distance back to the dinghy dock via a bar where we had to slake our thirst and the mini market to get some provisions. So what should have taken 30 minutes to achieve, we managed in two and a half hours. But that's the Caribbean for you ....