Preseason Routine

Once settled in at the Jolly Castle Hotel, I took a walk to the boatyard to see our Angel. My anticipation got the best of me; that, coupled with the miserable return experiences of the prior 4 years had my heart hammering in my chest. I climbed aboard, took a deep breath, and opened the hatch. Oh my gosh! The interior was spotless, just as we’d left it six months earlier. Fresh and clean, shining actually. I was ecstatic; could not wait to tell Joy, because I knew she was nervous also, though she’d said nothing. What a wonderful welcome back to Jolly Harbor.

Clean and Shiny

The next few days were filled with commissioning efforts; reinstalling sails, canvas, running rigging, and so on. Then a major project: I’d hand carried our Sea Frost freezer compressor to the US for repairs and back, and upon return to the boat, I had to reinstall the unit and get it working. That process involved hiring a refrigeration tech because I discovered that the expansion/constant pressure valve was blocked. We’d expected as much and fortunately had purchased a new one from Sea Frost, carrying it along with us. With the new valve installed, Sylvester, owner of De Best Refrigeration Service, evacuated and recharged the system and we were off and running once again.

Getting the boat ready means having all sorts of boating products on hand. We buy lots of our stuff from Amazon as you’ll see.

We found several friends in the marina carrying out similar exercises, so we made plans with two other boaters to rent a van for trips to the groceries. We tried three different stores; the first being the local grocery downtown that all the locals used. This store, the one near the downtown bus center, was quite a disappointment. We’d heard prices were better here than the other stores, but to the contrary, we found prices higher and the selection of products disappointing. So we moved on to First Choice, a large super store that the manager at the Antigua Yacht Club had told us he used for all his restaurant shopping. This store was a well stocked, fairly priced grocery, but still, we could not find everything we wanted, so on a bit further to the big Epicurean grocery. Epicurean downtown has a really nice deli / restaurant in addition to the store, so we finished our shopping, had lunch, then hauled all our goodies back to the boat. All that remained was finding space to stow all the stuff.

Ready for Launch

Amidst all this hubbub, we found time to share meals and memories with old friends, John and Genie on Island Time, Mike and Jan on Pengelli, and we met a quite few new ones as well. As it happened, several were heading in the same first direction as us, NW off to St. Martin / Sint Maarten.