Offshore Sailor

Shore Leave

Shore Leave

It seems ironic, doesn’t it? Many people yearn to be afloat in some idyllic tropical anchorage yet we take time out to step ashore. Even more ironic is that in the Eastern Caribbean this period goes under the label of the Dry Season when it’s been anything but. Rainfall has been heavy – though with sunny patches between the squalls. An awkward swell has rolled into Prickly Bay while the winds – the ever so reliable trade winds! – have even had the temerity to wander off to seek other amusement. A Skype call from Dick and Mary of Alacazam (Shindig’s elder cousin), at that time in Dominica some 200 nautical miles in latitude above us, spoke of malevolent waves creaming in from the north. Outrageous! May the weather gods be ashamed of themselves.

With Chele still guarding her recently healed cracked pelvis, and still with over three months in hand before we should return to the UK, we’ve taken the soft option and moved ashore for a few days into one of a cluster of cottage-like apartments known as Lance Aux Epine. Each cottage is self-contained, has the services of a maid (named Josepha, even more charming than the cottage) and from the windows of ours we can see Shindig tethered to a rented mooring just a few hundred yards away. Never has standing anchor watch been so luxurious.

I must admit I was dubious at first but then I reminded myself of my obligations: water to be fetched, ditto beer and other comestibles, and of course all the ongoing chores associated with boat ownership. Not that I don’t have some important duties in our newly occupied apartment. Of these, I find checking that the ice trays are filled regularly to be particularly arduous, deserving of a short rest before other tasks rear their heads.

The demands of marine journalism can be exceedingly taxing. Why, just yesterday I had to meet Chele at a post-hairdresser rendezvous for cocktails and tapas. The venue was the slightly swankier but no less friendly Calabash Apartments, immediately neighbouring Lance Aux Epine. At the risk of having to strike my liver off the organ donor card, I remain faithful to the cause. If something must be endured, endure it unflinchingly is my motto. It’s degrading to go whingeing on about how tough life can be. So that you can better identify with our challenges, a photo of the view from our front door heads this blog. I take your sympathies as a given.

Now a confession. Before leaving the UK I bought a weighty page-a-day diary in which to scribble accounts of daily happenings. Recorded therein is our arrival in Grenada on New Year’s Eve, followed by Shindig’s launch (antifouled and variously valeted) two weeks later. Add to that couple of notes on the death of our two outboard motors and that’s about all. The eventual weeks have skidded by with hardly a meaningful entry.

It seems that after years stabbing away at keyboards my handwriting had degraded to levels of subterranean illegibility. and, secondly, that my memory and conscience only rarelyprompted me to make any entries at all.

Instead, I’ve decided I must revert to type in all senses of the word. Deadlines provide the rhythms to which I live. Therefore, from here forward till we return home, my blogs will also be my diary – not daily entries I rush to add but approximately every week.


Andrew Simpson

Andrew is a writer, illustrator and editor - mainly in the field of recreational boating. In addition to several books he has been a monthly contributor to Britain's most popular boating magazine for over twenty years. Andrew and his wife Chele spend about six months of every year sailing. After some years in the Mediterranean, they are now in the Caribbean. If you enjoy his blogs please share them with your friends. Comments or questions are also welcomed.

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