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Wednesday 1st April 2003 Ė Pain de Sucre, Terre díen Haut, Les Saintes
Living aboard is not as I imagined, surprise, surprise. The pictures I had in the years of dreaming about this adventure were always very much Ďaboard a boatí, not so much confining as cosy, everything to hand, a consciousness of being afloat, time to reflect and take in the sunsets and sunrises, time to watch the birds on the water, time to care for the boat and to do things I have always wanted time for. The reality, so far, is proving quite different. When aboard Gallant I am not conscious of being in a confined space, somehow oneís horizons seem to automatically adjust to the smaller space and just accept it as being the way it is, I cannot imagine what I could need more space for. Are the homes we live in ashore are unnecessarily large? Perhaps itís the beautiful vistas, wide horizons and distance which I see everytime I look out of a port hole or sit in the cockpit that give the mind the space it needs, that make Gallant seem so spacious. Gallant works well with the four of us aboard, yes there are times when I would rather the stereo wasnít on, the kids like their music, but itís not often that I feel any lack of solitary space. Reflecting upon this adjustment to life aboard it makes sense; I have experienced this before when moving and adjusting to a new home. Itís the lack of time that is that I am struggling to accept. Somehow, I still seem to be keeping busy, too busy, is this the learning I have the opportunity to get from this adventure? The fact is I still have a To Do list which at times tends to drive me, there are further modifications and improvements to be made to Gallant, maintenance to be done, finances to be managed, issues back in the UK and USA to be dealt with and so on. It is seven months since we moved aboard Gallant and perhaps thereís an adjustment still to be made, well thereís time for that!
2000hrs: Sitting in the cockpit, stars shining bright in a clear dark sky, lights twinkling across the water from Guadeloupe about ten miles away. At a first glance itís easy to mistake the anchor light of a nearby yacht for Venus until you notice it swaying side to side, Iíve lost count of the times I have done that. Thereís a warm, gentle breeze blowing and Gallant is rocking very gently to a slight swell which I can hear breaking on the nearby beach. This is a delightful anchorage.
Saturday 5th April 2003 Ė Pain de Sucre, Terre díen Haut, Les Saintes
This is such a pretty anchorage, as is the island. Until tourism took over the primary industry on the island was fishing, presumably it is too small and lacking in flat fertile areas to have had sugar plantations and without the latter slaves were never brought to in so consequently the population is primarily white. Yesterday saw the four of us zipping around on scooters we had rented, two of us on each. Some of the hills were so steep and the scooter engines so small that we could only make it to the top with a good run up, slowing down for oncoming traffic or a hairpin bend was fatal. Andrea had to hop off on two occasions and walk to the top of a hill. Our tour of the island took us to the local yacht club, one that is the stuff of Caribbean dreams. The clubhouse is an old home painted bright yellow and French blue on a beach under palm trees with a lean-too shack in one corner of the former garden serving as a bar. What could be more Caribbean than to sit in the shade of a palm tree with sand running between your toes looking out over clear azure blue water at the boats moored in the bay?