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The Sweet Life is Over

24th February 2021

So far we have geared everything towards going to Sint Maarten. This destination is recommended because it is only a good day trip from Antigua. Coming from Antigua you didn't need a COVID test as Antigua is currently classified as a low risk country. There is some maintenance work to be done on escape that we want to have carried out in Sint Maarten.

But when we look at the current COVID numbers in Sint Maarten again, we get a shock 😨. Sint Maarten has more than ten times as many new infections per day as Antigua. Does it really make sense to go there? In addition, we have to have a lot of maintenance work carried out on the engine and watermaker, for example. This work requires a service technician to stay inside the boat for a longer period of time. Who would like to have other people in their living room for a long time in a COVID risk area?

But staying here is not possible without further ado. Our residence permit for Antigua is valid for three months. They'll be up for the next week. What do we do now?🤔

Theoretically there are a number of other islands that we could visit but the reality is different in times of COVID. Some islands are closed to tourists, others have a cumbersome entry procedure with one or more COVID tests and / or quarantine. Ideally, we would also prefer to visit an island where we haven't been in the last year.

We think back and forth. I research the current entry regulations for the other islands on the Internet. At the same time I inform myself about the possibilities to extend our residence permit for Antigua. According to the Internet, however, this procedure is very cumbersome. From marriage certificates to medical reports and bank statements, you have to present all kinds of documents. That doesn't seem a good way for us either 😲. After all, we only want to stay here a few more weeks, but it's not worth the effort. We keep looking for a solution. While 50% of the crew is 😟going through an emotional crisis , the other 50% stay cool😎. So now reality has caught up with us. We have literally spent the past few months "on an island of bliss" while the rest of the world was shaken by the pandemic.

Help is once again coming from the Salty Dawgs, the American sailing association to which I now belong. The Salty Dawgs are in the process of negotiating a simplified procedure with the Antigua government for the extension of residence permits specifically for cruisers.

Our decision is now made. We'll stay here for now. While we are on the list for the simplified renewal procedure, we can begin our boating work. We do not run the risk of violating any regulations. Phew, 😅that was difficult. Whether the decision was the right one will only become clear afterwards, but we're happy to have at least a plan.

We'll tackle it the next morning. We drive back to Falmouth to our old anchorage . Here, in the stronghold of the yacht industry, we can commission the necessary work. As we enter the bay, an interesting picture emerges. In the foreground we see “Imagine B” lying at anchor. With its 34m it is not exactly small, but compared to the mighty Perseus 3 it looks rather inconspicuous. Perseus 3 is a full 60 m long and therefore exactly three times as long as escape. The superyacht world of Antigua is always fascinating.

We anchor right next to escape's big sister, the CNB 76 Xaira.

In order to have the work carried out, we need a port. With the dinghy we take a closer look at the two marinas in question. The Falmouth Marina is empty, we have a place here immediately. Personally, I like the Catamaran Marina better, and it is also cheaper (the name is misleading, by the way, there are hardly any catamarans in this port, mainly monohulls). We are lucky, after half a day of waiting the Catamaran Marina confirms the port square.

The next morning the skipper does his office work while I calmly prepare for the harbor. The fenders are taken out of the locker and inflated. All lines are prepared.

At noon on the dot when our place becomes free, we drive into the harbor, the mooring maneuver works fine. We anchor with the bow forward so that we have a clear view to the rear and can lower the dinghy at any time. The place is perfect 👌. For the first time in two months, escape is tied to a jetty again.

We now have busy days ahead of us. Let's see if everything works out as we imagine. At least it's a good start. The first technician comes on board the very next day.

While we are anchored in Carlisle Bay, we think about what to do next.

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