Back in our 'home port' of Jolly Harbour, Antigua, we have decided to become partial land lubbers for a while. Living on yachts has so many wonderful advantages – being able to dive off to swim in the wonderful Caribbean sea whenever you want, being treated to amazing displays by birds diving for fish, being able to put your hands on all your belongings within a few feet of space and even staying in your bikini all day if you want to !
However, once on land, there are certain temptations that I am eager to give in to. One of the first temptations for me has to be a freezer. Whilst freezers are now much more common on yachts, we have managed for many years without one. Being a little more creative in planning meals is an easy trade for reducing our electricity consumption on board. Having been in a house for a little while now though I seem to have become addicted to ice cubes, freezing big batches of meals and even eating ice cream. I am going to have to come up with a plan to wean myself off the freezer before we return to life at sea, if only to stop myself from turning “island shaped” in the interim.
Whether at anchor or on land, staying in one place for a while gives us the opportunity to expand our social activities and we are certainly making the most of it. Lots of happy hour drinking, dining out, beach days and even occasional pool matches with local friends are becoming our new norm. The quality of the pool table may leave a little to be desired, but there is no lack of fun, banter, cheating and incredibly luck shots – the slope of the table helps and hinders in equal measure, as does the quaffing of Caribbean beer ! Unfortunately all this socialising is adding to my waistline again and I fear that a dramatic increase in exercise is now required.
A change in our surrounding flora and fauna has meant us learning to share our garden with land crabs, mongeese (or is it mongooses ? The debate rages on on our house), lizards, geckos and even the occasional cat. Night noises are also different with tree frogs, cicadas, music, cars and the neighbours cows and donkeys making their presence felt. Unfortunately for me, one of our local tree frogs recently decided to make it's presence felt by landing on my forehead whilst I was reading a book in bed ! I shrieked (very girly I know) and leapt up to see the tree frog now calmly sitting on the headboard. It must have taken me 10 minutes to release it back into the wild and a further 10 minutes for me to be able to focus back on my book.
Our biggest challenge with local fauna so far though came in the form of Steve getting a bite that turned into a very nasty cellulitis infection. He became ill surprisingly quickly, necessitating visits to the doctor, many prescriptions and enforced bed rest. Whilst it could have been due to a mosquito bite, a few locals have suggested that one of the native caterpillars was probably to blame. Many weeks later and his leg is still showing the aftermath of this nasty infection. We certainly sweep any type of caterpillar out of the house as soon as we spot it now.
Our lovely Wanderlust provides a welcome escape when we need a break from solid ground. How lucky we are to be able to pack an overnight bag and sail away for the weekend. This was particularly wonderful over Christmas and New Year when we were able to sail around Antigua to join friends, enjoy the parties at Nelson's Dockyard and even take part in the Nelson's Pursuit Race on New Years Eve. We may not have covered ourselves in glory in the race (long story about reefing lines and knives as we crossed the start line!), but we certainly won the prize for “most fun” - oh and some rum of course.
As we try to refine our plans for 2018 we continue to take full advantage of the opportunities and fun presented by life ashore, whilst also getting a few jobs sorted on our yacht. Although we are embracing our current land lubber status, our itchy feet are not being calmed any by our lovely cruising friends regaling us with stories and photos of their continued travel. The call of the sea still seems to be strong and further adventures beckon.