Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Greetings from Antigua

We safely made the short, night flight to Antigua on an old prop plane. We have been very lucky to get a workaway placement at very short notice. We are staying in a large, holiday villa whilst we help the owners to restore a small cottage ( with very small budget) alongside an Antiguan employee. We may get a chance to stay in the cottage as we have to move out of the villa by Friday. Our walk to work involves crossing this rickety old bridge and passing through 'butterfly woods' where there are hundreds of white butterflies.  Every white dot in the photo is a butterfly! We'll blog again soon when we have explored Antigua more.

Saturday, 24 November 2018

End of Barbados placement

Our 2 weeks in Barbados are now at an end and we have created an educational nature trail. The central point of the trail has a variety of plants, both wild and cultivated, as well as a good view of the Atlantic. We tried to highlight food plants, from which we harvested a small selection (which we have enjoyed eating). We also had outings to other nearby conservation projects to get ideas.  In the photo you will see our host Teddy and his son Kevin, as well as the other volunteer Helen.

Apart from volunteering,  visiting projects and beaches,  we have spent a lot of time and energy in the last two weeks, trying to find a way to leave the island without flying.  Although we eventually had an offer from a fishing boat to take us to the Grenadines,  we reluctantly decided against as we had no onward offers and those islands are no nearer Puerto Rico. So... reluctantly we have decided to fly the next short leg.  On the positive side, we are taking a small,  low- flying turbo prop plane to Antigua. This is the lowest carbon flight possible.

So we're off tomorrow - next stop Antigua where we will continue our search for boats towards Puerto Rico.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Working hard (for once!)

We have now finished our  first week in Barbados. We have been very welcome by host Teddy, his son Kevin and fellow volunteer Helen. We have been helping to create a nature trail on what used to be a sugar plantation. We have surveyed the  nature and hacked out a trail.  We have enjoyed using machetes in a variety of ways.  

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Bajan Bonanza!

A beautiful sunrise together with sight of land after 10 days straight at sea was a great way to start the day this morning.  And things have got better and better.  Captain Sergey and his team achieved a smooth and impressive landing, given the very small amount of space available!  Disembarking from the ship was also smooth,  thankfully.  From the port, we wandered into Bridgetown,  the capital of Barbados.  There we paused at an organic, plant based cafe at the corner of the bus station and sampled the local public transportation which dropped us exactly outside 'Debushes' - our home and place of learning and sharing for the next two weeks at least.  Teddy - the owner and designer of the land - and Helen - the current project manager of Teddy's dream to create an educational nature reserve freely open to the public,  were there to greet us,  as were a vast array of plants and animals including bamboo and banana plants, humming birds and  mongoose. We feel like we are in paradise.  More about the people and wildlife including photos in posts to come no doubt. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Life at sea

As we near the end of our westbound transatlantic crossing, we thought we'd share some reflections.

One thing we love about life on board is the range of nationalities. There are people from every continent (with the possible exception of Australasia) with dozens of different languages being spoken.

The crew work incredibly hard.
Every day they are maintaining and fixing things on board.  In the picture,  one of the engineering team is sewing up a rip in a sail, while being tethered to a spar.

Being in the middle of an ocean is truly awe inspiring,  although Steve should remember to stay safely on the deck!

We feel incredibly lucky to be able to do this trip although the level of service and luxury is something that we find difficult,  especially as we've found out that the crew do not get a full day off during their entire contract (which can be as long as 9 months).

Apologies that you won't have been able to track us as well as we thought because it turns out that the tracking websites only work around one hundred miles from land.  

Friday, 2 November 2018

Hold on tight!

After a very calm start to our journey,  the swell has picked up. Initially we found this a little alarming and unsteadying, but we have quickly got used to the movements of the boat.  Although some of our fellow passengers and crew initially had some sea sickness,  we have been lucky not to suffer. Hurricane Oscar passed well to the North and had no noticeable effect on us.

The fledgling starling in the photo stowed away with us in Morocco and disembarked in Tenerife, also had to hold on tight!

We wanted to post a video of the waves crashing against the port holes but it won't upload so Mel will try to post it on her Facebook page instead.