Yesterday we said a sad goodbye to Kate, Mark and Ruth, Lottie and Beth as they headed to the airport and back to school. Getting the bags ashore to the beach by OJ's Beach Bar involved a whoosh up the beach in the light swell, and a scramble to get the dinghy ashore before the next wave broke. We had been anchored just offshore in very flat calm conditions for two days, not wanting to move with golden sands a short swim away, the delights of OJs rum punches and fried food, and in the background Montserrat steaming dramatically, especially when the massive sunsets overtake the sky.
We woke, child free this morning, but it felt strange not to have the girls stomping through the saloon where Mark and I slept, and then sharing breakfast of chocolate Rice Crispies or Cheerios with them.
We upped anchor and headed a couple of miles out to sea to empty the holding tanks and then set out to solve the problems of the various valves that control the discharge of waste to sea. It took a long hot time running through the combinations of six valves, two toilets and two holding tanks until we had sorted out what went where. To do this we relied on a large packet of All Bran as a marker. Mark was below feeding All Bran into the bowl, pumping and frantically opening and shutting valves. I had the surreal job of leaning over the rail and gazing down into deliciously clear light blue water, which had a surface like clear glass, and giving a shout every time another gout of macerated All Bran gushed out below the surface. After much, increasingly heated, discussion we eliminated various possible causes and decided that some of the valve labelling was misleading. But then, no matter what we did we STILL had All Bran pumping out of the forward heads even if all outle
ts were shut. We finally concluded that the outlet valve had failed, and I was just wondering how to take it off without sinking the boat when I checked the valve handle........Lo ! It had been put on wrongly so that the valve never quite shut. Problem 4,713 solved. Phew! Just as well too, as we will be closely inspected by the authorities in the Galapagos.
Once we had cooled off in the Bombay Sapphire sea we sailed in light breezes through the inner passage behind the reef, while Mark raced happily around in the dinghy photographing Tin Tin. We had a touch of drama when Emily managed to collect a lobster pot round the two rudders, but a quick dive with snorkels soon had it disentangled. We then ended up anchoring off Pigeon Beach in Falmouth Harbour to await the arrival of Justin, with Latin Hiphop pounding away from a big Sunday barbecue party on the beach.
We welcomed Justin with a couple of rum punches in Skullduggery Bar at the Antigua Yacht Club, and then motored back out to Tin Tin in a deep red sunset that somehow surpassed the most spectacular of the last few days. All four of us couldn't stop saying Wow!
Emily then produced a superb Thai prawn curry and we are all now collapsing into our bunks, ready for a new voyage.