"you might go crashing down, down, down, past the storeys of coral cathedrals and flights of intricate stone stairways..."
We’ve said good bye to Guadeloupe now. The Saints were beautiful and we even saw the (original!) Shroud of Turin inside the pretty little stone church. Before we departed, I had to clamber up the mast to repair our lazy jack line that had ripped when we had entered in gusty conditions. Our next stop were the Pigeon Islands, back up in the north of Guadeloupe. Now that we had a dinghy again, we could actually enjoy some of the best snorkelling in the Caribbean. We dinghied over to the tiny islands and jumped into the water with our masks on and were immediately not disappointed.
All around were swarms of fish. In the cut between the two islands were amazing yellow and pink corals forming table tops and preposterous shapes. Improbably gaudy coloured fish nibbled on the sea bottom. Some sorcery must have taken place to create this magical underwater world. I had the impression that Disney’s The Little Mermaid’s Kingdom was based here. We slowly glided around the back of the island and were amazed. Below was a vast precipice, which we teetered on top of. We felt giddy, even though we were suspended weightless in the water; to look down into the deep dark blue was to feel as though you might go crashing down, down, down, past the storeys of coral cathedrals and flights of intricate stone stairways inhabited by curious creatures not of the solid earth above the water.
We sailed to Antigua, this time to the west coast and the delightfully named Jolly Harbour. And it is jolly. The sun shone, the water all around is very shallow and sandy bottomed, which means that even though there are lots of boats here, tit doesn’t feel too crowded. The clearing in took three hours and some sunburnt arms and legs - everyone seemed to have arrived on the same day as us. But we had a lovely day at a little beach across from our boat, which we had all to ourselves and we paddleboarded and had a last swim before we had to say good bye to my mum and stepdad.
For a year it was just the two of us on the boat - and probably just as well while we were getting used to it and learning what to do and how to live on a boat. But it has been lovely being able to share this lifestyle as well. To help my family see the pleasures of this outdoor life, connected with nature - in the water, in the weather and in the skies. But also for them to appreciate the minor yet constant tribulations of maintaining the boat. We have Luciano’s sister joining us later this month and we’re looking forward to sharing the lifestyle with Luciano’s side of the family as well. Family and friends are the only things we miss on the boat and so it has been lovely to finally share the experience further - and nice for them to escape the English winter too.
Our next step is to collect the cats, please check in next week to find out more.
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