August 27 – September 26 2021; 6987 nm and 920 days after departure from La Rochelle.
Yeahhhh! Lockdown! Well, in my last blog I wrote the restrictions didn´t have such a big impact on us -which was true- but only a few days later all changed. With the massive increase of new local infections (7 day incident well beyond of 1000), new restrictions were put in place. No gatherings (which also meant no volleyball), curfew from 7pm to 5am, beach visits are only allowed between 5am and 10am invariable to exercise… maybe its easier to communicate what is allowed. Grocerie shopping, sports ashore (limited to 2hours) within the curfew limits, doctor visits, testing, inoculations and swimming close to the boat while curfew times. I forgot to mention, the last three weekends (and probably the following) was a complete curfew starting Fridays from 5pm until Monday mornings 5am. Finally we can have some calm weeks with resting weekends and we can live out our togetherness! Yippppeeeeee!
One of the great things of being a sailor is, that it never get’s boring. As y’all know by now, we ALWAYS have projects to do on the boat. Lockdown means: no excuses anymore! Shhhh…ame! So, being fed up with the roller coaster in Prickly bay and not sure wether we´d be allowed to move the boat at all anymore, we changed the anchorage. Off we were the few miles to Port Egmont our lake-like refugium. Perfect for any kind of boat work. Nice was the fact that John from Barnacle C was also in Egmont. He was the guy we first met in Porto Santo / Madeira Sept 2019. (We were very impressed (and still are!!) that he was already living on his boat for more than 35 years).
I started with my – it felt forever procastinated – finishing of sewing two seat cushions. One for the “wheel-seat” and the other one was for our navigational corner. Nothing very exciting, but nice to have if in action. Norbert had another deep dive in his favorite battery energy system bringing the smart chargers to perfect performance. A very important duty was cleaning and greasing our winches. I always thought it’s a difficult job to do. Difficult in the sense of being super cautious not to loose one of the million bits and pieces when you open the winch. Surprisingly it turned out just to be a diligent job. There were only about 20 pieces in a winch (we were a bit disappointed😉). I have no clue if we are lucky with our winches or if some people just exaggerate…, who knows. Anyhow, tick in the box. Job done! Altimate got a deep clean in the cockpit area with every single strip of wood scrubbed tenderly. Her hull got unshackeled from barnacles and sea-ground covering and her inside is as shiny as it can be.
Our original plan before lockdown was, to sail back to Carriacou as soon as we got our delivery from Budget Marina (a small burner ring for our gas stove.) We wanted to spent the last hurricane-season-weeks there to enjoy the various anchorages including their beautiful waters, reefs and wildlife. Petite Martinique was still on our list to visit and we were desperate to take our two remaing dives which we had postponed from our diving certficate. Well, the delivery was very delayed, almost three weeks in the end. Not a big deal before the restrictions as we were happy meeting our friends, playing volleyball and appreciating the easy access to groceries. Now it’s kind of a bummer! We received the order, but now we’re not allowed to move between the islands anymore.
And here comes the double bummer!! Our dear friends from Carina, Shell and James decided to leave us. They were fed up with all the lockdown obstacles and decided after going through all the pros and cons to sail to Curacao like lots of other sailors. We too thought about that possibility, but it was not really an option as we wish to be in Martinique in the beginning of December. Flying back home to see family and friends for xmas is our big goal and Martinique is a good location to leave Altimate and to fly to Europe.
But back to Carina. Us being in Egmont and them anchoring in Woburn Bay we managed to see us for the last time. They were so kind to get our delivery from Budget when they were doing the big shopping tour with Shademan to get all their provisions for the trip. We secretly met in Le Phare Bleu, they arrived by dinghy and we walked over from Egmont. Remember! No gatherings allowed whatsoever. Ok, as they had a delivery for us I guess it was officially in the range of being allowed😉. It was nice to see them in person but as well very sad as we do not know when we will see them again. We’re gonna miss you guys!!!
Two complete weeks in Egmont with lots of jobs done and sad to see so many friends leaving, we needed a change of scenery. Last Tuesday we lifted our hook and sailed back to Prickly. Only to get on the shopping bus early next morning to buy a lot of groceries, get some nice cheese from “Le Boucher” and then set off to our next destination, Halifax Harbour. The attentive reader might remember that we’ve been here before in the early days of our Grenada stay? Correct it was end of March. This time we arrived in the afternoon and were welcomed by our volleball friends from the boat “Boorie” Nikki and Dave. We only spent another day together and then they left to get as well some boat projects done. Now we’re enjoying being the only boat in the bay but most of all we enjoy the clear water after the mangrove water in Egmont.
Meanwhile it’s Sunday of the third complete lockdown weekend. Norbert did some more hull cleaning (yes, we could clean the hull probably every other day 🙈, it grows like hell) and I did my workout session with Ann via google-meet. I completely forgot to mention that. How could I? Ann and Harry are from the cat “Whisper”. They met Carina in Woburn bay and through Shell I was virtually introduced to them. Ann does super exhausting, intense, powerfull and fun workouts three times a week from her cat. She was so kind to let me join her virtual workout session. Lucky me! I joined her group just before the strong restrictions were announced and like this I was able to compensate our volleyball exercises. With her I am motivated to get my body early up in the morning (she starts at 7am) and ready to exercise. Yessssss. I am very thankful for her offer (and Shell telling me about Ann’s skills) and very proud of myself😁. One hour of workout with Ann on a shaking monohull with limited space available takes me to my sportive limits. I’m done for the day and happy to relax. Perfect for lockdown times and even better for my body and fitness.
Here some more good news. El Capitano send a friendly email to Carriacou customs office to ask if we could get permission to sail to Carriacou. And guess what? They granted us permission to sail over. Yeahhhhh. We are soooo happy!!!