Excellent Sailing and Fresh Produce: Traveling Down Island

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 6/11/2023 – 6/18/2023

Good morning! Here is our latest YouTube video!

Last Sunday, Ray replaced the raw water pump on our port engine. It’s a job we’ve had on our radar for a while now, and we were able to find a replacement when we were in St. Martin, so we decided to install it now while we wait for a rebuild kit for the original. In classic boat project fashion, it took the entire morning and required twice as many tools as we anticipated… 😅

Later that afternoon, as we sat down for lunch, two men dinghied up to our boat. They didn’t speak much English, but the second Ray made out the word “help,” he climbed in, and they zoomed off. I kept a close eye on them from Sabado. They pulled up to a small monohull that was dragging anchor. The three of them boarded the boat and got the engines on and the anchor up. They moved the boat and reset the anchor. It was only a few hours later, with the help of Google Translate, that we discovered the two men were from the catamaran next to us. The boat that was dragging anchor belonged to a local, who stopped by later that day to thank Ray. 

Monday afternoon, we decided to go to shore to figure out our trash disposal options. Liveaboards are always looking for four things: laundry, trash, groceries, or propane. We sorted it out, then wandered into a little waterfront bar for an afternoon beer.  

We returned to Sabado and got back to work: Ray repaired a portion of our helm enclosure that had ripped during a gusty sail last week, and I did some cleaning, polishing, and UV protecting. 

By Tuesday, we were ready for a change of scenery. We had our eye on a weather window to continue South later in the week, so we just moved to a quieter anchorage around the corner. We had the entire place to ourselves, exactly how we like it! We made some water, did our laundry, and swam off the back of the boat. 

The next day we decided to take the dinghy to explore some caves we saw on our way in. We had heard that the snorkeling in Antigua wasn’t great because of the suspended sand in the water around the island, so my expectations were low. Although the visibility was poor, and most of the coral was coated in white silt, the rock around the caves was beautiful, with purple, red, and yellow veins throughout. Some caves had shallow white sand interiors, and others were dark and spooky. 

After I had poked my head into every one, I climbed back into the dinghy, and we headed home. 

We spent the day Thursday preparing to move. We stopped by the grocery store and visited the lady selling fruit on the side of the road. We checked out of the country, put away all the boat project supplies we’d used this week, and went to sleep early. 

We left first thing Friday morning. It was a little bumpy, but since we weren’t sailing close to the wind, we weren’t bashing into every wave, so it was pretty comfortable! We used our main and jib, sailing the entire way to Guadeloupe. 

Sabado performed well, and we cheered her on as our speed over ground headed into double digits. We had a blast! 

Within minutes of dropping our anchor, two small birds tried to move into our boom

They were relentless! After repeatedly shooing them away, I resorted to taping the opening shut. 

This confused them, and they spent the rest of the evening perched nearby, tweeting at the tape. 😂

I chopped up the mystery melon we got in Antigua that night. I had asked the lady if it was a cantaloupe, but she shook her head no. It smelled sweet and was a great price, so we had brought it home anyway. It turns out it’s a Galia melon: a honeydew and cantaloupe hybrid. It’s white and green inside, the white part being the sweetest! We cubed it up, filled four containers, and popped them in the fridge. Once cold, we ate it by the bowl-full with a bit of flaky sea salt on top. 

We continued on Saturday morning. We started off motoring through glassy water without a breath of wind. Thankfully, the wind filled out as we left the island’s protection, and we had another lovely sail. We used our main and jib, starting with one reef and going down to 2 as the wind gusted up to 30kn. 

During the last hour of our trip, we started hearing a new squeak. We’re pretty obsessive when tracking down noises on Sabado because, in our experience, a new noise is likely an early indicator of a larger problem. So I took the helm while Ray worked on it. 

We sailed into Portsmouth, Dominica, as far as we could. We’ve been a bit lazy this year, dropping our sails early and motoring into most of our destinations, but the past two days of excellent sailing have reignited our desire to sail as much and as far as possible! It’s been a while since I practiced hand steering under sail, so I took the helm and guided us in while Ray gave me some tips to maintain our speed. Ray says he isn’t a good teacher, but I learn so much from him!

We dropped the sails and were met by a man on a small motorboat with the letters P-A-Y-S painted on the side. The island has a non-profit organization called Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services (PAYS) that provides security, mooring, and delivery services to cruisers. The PAYS man led us to our mooring ball and even looped the lines through for us! We paid him 30EC (~10 USD) to stay the night and a few extra bucks for him to bring us a bag of ice for our arrival cocktails.

Later that afternoon, a man paddled up to our stern with a crate full of produce. He set an assortment on our sugar scoop, and we gave him some canned food and a bit of vodka in exchange. 

A lot of the guidebooks encourage you to ignore these guys, but we never do, especially if they’re willing to trade for food! Even if we get ripped off, we’d rather be kind to a local than assume the worst. Plus, I’m confident we will enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables he gave us much more than we would a can of tuna! 😂 We gave everything a thorough wash and went to bed. I’m not 100% sure what it all is, but I’m excited to cook with it today! 

We originally planned to leave this morning, but I think we might stay a while instead… I hope you had a great week! ❤️

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