March 9th English Harbour
Had a pretty good night’s sleep it was windy though and the yacht next door to us had the inevitable line banging on the mast, it’s so annoying and I hope he fixes it before tonight. Peter always says it’s an unprofessional sailor who has those banging ropes. It’s really loud on an aluminium mast and you can hear it right across a marina sometimes.
Maree made a beautiful breakfast of Croissants with cheese and tomato grilled and they were absolutely melt in the mouth gorgeous.
I set off just after 8am to complete the clearance process. The customs office is situated in one of the old dock buildings, it really is a unique location and very picturesque. I was early and off to a good start, I thought. Not so, there were 3 computers available but only 2 working. There were 2 other guys trying to clear out and they successfully completed their clear out. For some reason the ESeaclear program would not accept my user name and password and after numerous attempts I asked the customs officer for assistance. She informed me I would have to redo the whole registration process. Which I did and finally I was able to complete the process. This gave me a clearance ID number which I wrote down and was then able to line up, by now there were about 5 people in the queue. The office opened at 8am but the immigration and the port authority staff did not arrive until after 9am so this caused further delays. Finally I was served where the customs guy printed the forms in triplicate, stamped them then I had to take them to the Immigration desk, and line up, where the young lady processed the passports, then back to customs where he again stamped and signed the forms, then to the Port authority where I had to pay $130 EC which was the fee for 4 people for a cruising permit, and the Park entry fee, and then back to customs again for another stamp and finally the process was completed. This was the longest, and most difficult clearance in process I have had anywhere. Still not the most expensive, embarrassingly, Australia takes the cake for that one.
I headed back to the boat where Robbie, Paul and Maree were waiting for me. We had read in the cruising guide that people have been fined who have left the boat in Antigua before the customs clearance has been completed, and no one wanted to risk that.
Maree and I went and had a coffee in the Hot Hot Hot coffee shop, which is about 100 metres from the boat. My mission was to try and sort out our internet, we have two sim cards for the Caribbean, both Digicel, one from Grenada which we were told would work in all of the Caribbean (NOT) and another one we had to purchase in Martinique as the French network is different to the rest of the Caribbean. Neither are working. I had no joy so using the cafes Wi-Fi I was able to update the blog. While doing this we could see that Robbie and Paul were talking to a couple of guys, and they went aboard Southern Star. After half an hour they came over and Robbie introduced me to Sean, another Nordhavn owner from N64 “Kapowai”, and she’s a New Zealand registered vessel also! Then Sean tells me his wife is from Rai Valley in NZ, and this is half an hour from where I was born and lived in NZ. I had actually wondered earlier upon hearing the name Kapowai, as where I used to holiday with my parents each Christmas for a number of years, on D’urville Island, the bay was named Kapowai. It was lovely to meet Sean and we are looking forward to a catch up over the next few days. Sean also informed us that the Nordhavn 47 MV Moonrise is also back in Falmouth Harbour, the next bay over from English Harbour. Now we first med Bridget and Martin back in 2013 with James Knight when we were looking at Nordhavns and they had just purchased Moonrise. Another Nordhavn Rondeaveau is soon to happen! Hurry up Starlet and L’Dagio then there will be 5 Nordhavns in Antigua!
We could also see Moonrise anchored out in the bay.
We had a very pleasant lunch in the Antigua Yacht Club, we all had burgers and they were very good. We strolled back to the boat seeing a local filleting fish and feeding about a dozen huge Tarpin the scraps. Robbie and Paul jumped in the duck and went around to Falmouth Bay to go and see Moonrise.
It was quite windy and Maree and I didn’t fancy to go so we sat on the fly bridge and enjoyed the sights. The huge superyacht MySky is berthed 2 doors down from us, she is a beautiful boat with 11 crew and we watched them unloading a minivan full of provisions.
We had a walk down the dock admiring the super yachts, and then cooked dinner (Pork chops with new potatoes in garlic butter with salad) and then we watched a movie – Captain Phillips. True story of a pirate attack on a container ship starring Tom Hanks. He plays a great part and it’s a good enough movie to bring you to tears at the end.