Sunday, March 2, 2014

Montserrat for Breakfast, Antigua for Lunch

That’s Nevis upper left, Montserrat at the bottom and Antigua upper right. Three different countries. The small dot in the center is Redondo. We left Nevis early and got in a decent sail SE. It was blowing pretty well, but nothing like the beating we took the day before. When we got offshore Montserrat we had to tack 3 or 4 times to get in close, then motored in the last 2 miles.
redondoIMG_4495 This is the Kingdom of Redondo as we sailed by. It is just a big rock. There’s a long story, most of it probably BS, about how the Kingdom is deeded to pass down from one ‘literary personage’ to another. The fate of the island was ‘settled’ in 2009 with Michael the Grey ascending the throne and agreeing that the island belonged to Antigua and Barbuda as the ‘legitimate sovereign’.  Either way its an empty island. At one point it apparently had a small, thriving guano mining business.  They must have had a pretty creative marketing executive to come up with ‘guano mining’ as a euphemism for shoveling bird shit into burlap bags.

Now I don't know
I don't know
I don't know where I'm a gonna go
When the volcano blow
Ground she's movin' under me
Tidal waves out on the sea
Sulfur smoke up in the sky
Pretty soon we learn to fly
Jimmy Buffet lyrics
The Soufrière volcano (photo from wikipedia) on Montserrat had a series of eruptions in 1995- 1997. It destroyed the main city, Plymouth, and left half the island under a mandatory exclusion zone – still in effect today. The population is about half of what it used to be.  The volcano is the one referred to in Jimmy Buffet song. As we passed by you could see steam running down the mountain side and smell the sulfur.
We got to Little Bay too late to check in with Montserrat customs, so we hoisted the yellow flag and had a beer, planning to check in in the morning. We woke up early and didn’t really see any reason to go ashore. So up the anchor and we had a nice sail over to Jolly Harbour, Antigua. We checked in with customs and immigration there.  
There’s been a rash of boat maintenance issues showing up. The autopilot isn’t piloting, the water maker boost pump isn’t boosting and the alternator regulator isn’t regulating. Fixed the boost pump by finding a small air leak in a hose fitting. Fixed the regulator by re-attaching a wire to the regulator. The autopilot is still in the mystery column. 
With no autopilot we had to hand steer to Barbuda. It was a great, light wind, 5 hour sail. We’re anchored off an 11 mile beach – I’m only good for about 100 yard beach walk at a time, so the actual length just isn’t that important to me. Hope to get in some snorkeling tomorrow.

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