Friday, 3 May 2013

A decision...

We woke early and spent some time watching a dolphin (or was it a small whale?) swimming close to Limbo, until it headed out of Hermitage Bay into deeper water.  Deep Bay was just 3 miles away, and we headed off against the wind, our sail plan soon augmented with the engine to help against the steep chop.  It was only an hour, but not the most enjoyable passage.

Deep Bay is, not too surprisingly, a deep and indented bay, and notable for the wreck of the Andes in the entrance - its mast just breaking the surface.  The Andes sunk in 1905, carrying a cargo of pitch which caught fire, and sits at a depth of only 30 feet or so.  We spotted a large turtle as we passed.  A quiet anchorage with just a few boats.

Rainbow over Deep Bay

The next day was dry and we headed over to the wreck with our snorkel gear in the dinghy.  Wreck snorkelling was an eery experience, and the visibility wasn't great (think dark shapes looming out of the murky waters..) so we didn't stay in too long.  The afternoon was spent exploring the 18th century battery on the north side of the bay and a stroll along the empty beach towards the 'Grand Royal Antiguan Resort', which seemed strangely deserted.  We did see a mongoose - but where was everyone?  It was late season, but not that late.

We headed a few miles further north in the morning and anchored off the Sandals resort at Dickenson Bay - a shallow and fairly unprotected anchorage, the beach far from deserted and with jetskis - but we were there for the wifi!  It was a stressful day as we waited for replies to emails and worked through our options.  I'd previously thought there was a ship leaving in late May, but now discovered that the service was unconfirmed.  Limbo would have to be on the MV Fagelgracht, due into St Thomas in the BVIs on 12/13 May (10 days!) or we would either be sailing back or effectively abandoning Limbo to a boatyard somewhere.  Not keen to end our trip so soon, I even looked into shipping to the Med then sailing back, via the canals, but this looked expensive and complicated. We had an email from our friends on Amorosa, who were in a similar situation, and confirmed they were putting their Sadler 25 on the same ship.  In a way, that made our minds up.

By the end of the day, we had a confirmed space on a ship for Limbo, and seats on a flight for us a week later.

I felt a mixture of relief at the end of our period of indecision and great sadness that the adventure was coming to an end in what felt like an abrupt way.  Looking back, much as I liked the idea of arriving back in Falmouth Harbour with all flags flying, I think it was the right thing to do.  I've done that crossing before, on board La Cautiva (85 feet) and that year we were heavily reliant on a large engine and generous fuel tanks to get to the Azores. Alternatively it can be rough, with prolonged headwinds, and long passages aren't as much fun on a very small boat when it's cold and wet and at a constant heel.  Maybe we would have had a pleasant passage; but perhaps the best way to describe our decision is that we just didn't feel psyched up to do it.  This way Limbo would be home safe and sound in a few weeks, and we would have good memories of our ocean crossing.

We went for a swim and, afterwards, my eyes filled with tears as we watched the sun set.

Deserted beach at Deep Bay

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