A brief note to say we are still in Antigua. There isn't much to say as it's a little 'same old, same old' though we do like being here. Familiar is good too. In a nut shell - We're anchored in Falmouth Harbour, I worked a charter, Tim scraped and varnished, and the Christmas winds have kicked in. We've had strong winds and squally showers over the weekend and the general trend is for more moderate winds and squally showers for the foreseeable future. It will be great for when we start heading West to the British Virgin Islands in the next week or so to help some friends move their boat. Then it will be onward to the US Virgin Islands to await the arrival of my sister in January.
Time and Wi-Fi are critical to blog updating and if you don't hear from us for a while, it could be one or the other, but right now we have both, so back we go to Guyana.
Hanging out in Guyana
Life slows down dramatically at anchor but there was still lots to do.
Provisioning was still an adventure as the nearest town, Bartica, was 4 miles down river. Bartica can be seen from the anchorage on to the left of the photo. Between the distance and the current, it wasn't feasible to use our dinghy with its little 5hp outboard, and we'd either hitch a ride with one of the more powerful ribs or for a change of scene and to get our provisioning into our fridge or freezer more quickly, we'd up anchor and re-anchor off Bartica.
Anchoring in a tidal river is an interesting experience. The Essequibo River was quite fast flowing with the affect of the tide with a current of around 2 knots. The fresh river water and the salty sea water don't readily mix and at the turn of tide eddies would swirl around us as Larus changed direction to face up or down stream depending on the state of the tide.
With the prevailing winds were from the East, we were given an experience you don't often get at anchor. Normally anchorages have calm areas of water and its the wind rather than the current that chooses your direction. It was so refreshing to have the wind blowing directly into the main hatch and the hatch over our berth.
We found it quite impressive that although we were 20 miles inland, we were still experiencing more than a metre of tide. Rocks and boulders would reappear and disappear with every turn of the tide. Those who work in boats here learn the river as apprentices over a period of years.
Travelling with others also gets both Tim and I in the same photo for a change. Here we are outside and then inside the Bartica Market. Apples and carrots the were some of our most expensive purchases. Local fruit like pineapples were much cheaper, but because the tropical fruit and veg are more seasonal, there can be less choice so apples and carrots are appreciated.
In the markets we find fruits and veg that we're not familiar with or aren't what we expect. For example we've been brought up with great big sweet juicy citrus fruits, which have had a lot of money thrown at their development. In countries with less resources to combat the drought/heat/pests, you will get different varieties that sometimes can't match up to what we're used to. We were sold or given a citrus fruit called Portugals and we've had them in Trinidad and tried them again here in Guyana. 'Sweet, sweet,' the vendor says, but to us they were a little dry, seedy and not very sweet. I was disappointed, but not with the fruit, more in my inability to enjoy it for what it was.
The local water taxi depot; a glimpse of the problem of rubbish disposal in Guyana; A General Hardware Store with a wild west twist; backyards and front yards.
It really is nice to be somewhere new and experiencing it for the first time.
One thing I like here is that the take-away food containers are compressed paper with a thin coating of plastic on the inside. Most places in the Caribbean use Styrofoam containers and you see them everywhere - on the beaches, road side, and floating past at when anchor. On our way north, there had been torrential rain and after the water was full of floating rubbish that had been washed out to sea. It is disappointing to see, but recycling programs are expensive and these are small and often not very affluent countries.
Back on Larus there were all sorts of ways to keep busy.
We could watch the very occasional plane land at the Baganara Island Resort.
We could (and did) do lots of chores, but not many are worth mentioning.
This is a favourite hat given to me by Patrick on Foxfire, one of the first people Tim and I met on our arrival in the Caribbean back in 2013.
It's a great hat - wide brimmed and light, and the straw lets the wind through so its slow to blow off your head and cool wear. It had begun to show its age and with a little of old cockpit fabric given to us by David and Donna on Merlin, I fixed it up like new.
As a beginner seamstress, I was quite chuffed with the solution and the result, and Patrick's hat will see many more years of happy use.
And come sunset, its quite nice to sit and watch others at work.