After our blissful days on Barbuda, we headed back to Antigua to clear customs. This time we stuck to shallow water and the colour was just unreal. Everywhere we looked seemed to be photoshopped!
The checking out couldn’t take place that day as the officers had already left at noon. There was a problem with the watermaker on the island, which was clogged up because of an unusual swell. Due to the lack of water, the female officers refused to work (as there was no working bathroom). Way to go girls! There was one officer on duty, who was kind enough to let us stay at the immigration dock overnight (saving us $60 for a night at the marina). Although it would take us a day more to get out of Antigua, we were feeling extremely lucky to be on a free dock. There was even a marine store and a supermarket in the area and a restaurant with wifi literally 2 metres away. We celebrated with beer and pizza and caught up on some internet.
Our next stop was Nevis, a little island which consists of one volcano. The crater was covered in a thick cloud every day, making it look like it was erupting. The water along the coast gets pretty deep very quickly, and the government laid out mooring balls for visiting yachts. As we moored we felt a bit invincible. Since Guadeloupe, we didn’t have any breakdowns. We pinched ourselves and mentioned that we were so lucky that everything was going right for once. Of course, we had totally jinxed our luck by saying it out loud..
As proud new parents of our expensive Yanmar engine, we read the manual super carefully. It says that one should ‘race’ the engine after letting it run idle for some time. This is done by accelerating the engine several times (in neutral), heating it up and burning out the dirt. After I did this, the engine throttle was stuck in neutral.. And we made it worse by turning the handle the wrong way. It locked in the wrong position. If you are not following this: we couldn’t shift gear anymore. Which is inconvenient to say the least. Thomas took the throttle apart as far as possible, gave up, slept on it, took it apart even more, gave up, ordered a new one (ouch, expensive!). He figured, with the new one on the way, we couldn’t make it worse so he just started using brute force and drilled the whole thing apart in little pieces. With a little patience and a lot of WD40.. IT WORKED AGAIN! Thomas tie wrapped it all back together like a real sailor and it has been working like a charm since. But we won’t say it out loud anymore.
During ‘giving up’ phases of the throttle project, we would take the dinghy and undertake the dangerous trip ashore. The waves were high, as was the pier, and it took some serious gymnastics and skill to get into town. The town is a typical sleepy Commonwealth colonial Caribbean town: coloured wooden houses, friendly relaxed people, chicken running loose and bakeries selling tasteless bread. A few miles down the beach was a luxury resort, where the mechanic in Guadeloupe had recommended us to go. We didn’t get a free breakfast, but get to spend an afternoon at the pool leeching their wifi and swimming in fresh water. When we were all refreshed we took a stroll around the enormous golf course, used as a playground by the monkeys. This was the first time we saw monkeys in the Caribbean!