Alone Like a Rolling Stone

That´s Life

The path through the mangroves always has something adventurous about it. Deeply bent over, we push our way under the roots. Following the small path, you have to concentrate hard not to lose your way, it is not always clearly visible. Every now and then it leads out of the thicket onto the snow-white beach. At high tide the wave pushes into the forest and blurs the path. After 50 meters it goes under the roots again. We like to walk the path because there is something mystical about it. 

Through the mangroves

Today we are on our way back from Hillsborough, as we have extended our stay, on the island, for another three months. The immigration officer, a man neatly dressed in dark blue pants and white shirt, hands us an application form. Meanwhile, his two female colleagues are typing intently on their computers, ignoring us. A pane with a pass-through slot separates us from each other. The room is so small that one can hardly move. The writing on the application is transferred into a book, which lies open in front of the officer. Even though the Caribbean has arrived in the computer age, the old technology is still used here and the data is recorded in some kind of notebooks. I think to myself, what a hassle. The official pushes two green pieces of paper into my hand and explains to me that I have to pay the amount on the opposite side of the street at the post office. Afterwards we should come back and get our passports back. I look at the amount and get once again a crisis. 140€ for two stamps in the passports, I call a super hourly wage. From other sailors, who have been through this procedure many times, we hear again and again that this procedure is easy and does not cost much. Somehow a displacement process seems to take place here, or "not much" is of course also a very relative term. For some, this is still too little, after all, we sailors also use the infrastructure on the islands, so their arguments. But if you then see the infrastructure, in what condition it is, you can only guess where the money actually goes. But in the end it doesn't matter, nothing can be changed so quickly. So we go over to the post office and pay in the amount. The cashier, a black woman with straight hair dyed pink, smiles at me and tries to read my name out loud. She looks at me questioningly and I confirm that it is correct. As she types my name into the computer with her long fingernails, painted different colors, she says with a smile, "I'm really good." I confirm it to her, not because she pronounced my name correctly, but because she is obviously hitting the right keys on her computer with her long fingernails. We get back in line at immigration and wait our turn. The receipt wanders through the pass-through slot and comes back inserted in the passports. After an hour we get our passports back and are allowed to stay another three months. 

Unclean edges and spray

This also seems to be urgently necessary, because after our return to the boat, we had to realize again that Mr. Gold'n, our painter once again has done nothing. Busily he handles around in his things and I have enough of him. I pay him off and he disappears never to be seen again. Over the next few days, I set to work finishing the remaining work. I sand unclean edges and unpainted, forgotten areas. Make touch-ups on the waterline caused by unclean masking, and sand away the spray that has built up, especially in the bow area. I then polish the spots back up. All in all, painting the two hulls cost us 6000US$, plus 1500US$ in additional layover fees due to not showing up at the job, work stoppages, due to other tasks, etc. At the beginning, Mr. Gold'n assumed a total time of four weeks. So we expected to be back in the water by early February. In fact, he didn't work on our boat for more than four weeks either, just spread out over three months. 

Katinka shortly before completion

Which shows us once again that there are definitely cheaper ways to travel around the world. Whether it is then however also so fun, we cannot answer. Despite everything, we have not lost our fun and the joy of discovering new things. Finally, our situation takes us far away from the usual tourist activities and gives us an insight into real life, here in the region. Nigel is one such person. He runs something similar to what we know in Germany as building yard. Nigel is always in a good mood and can be found everywhere. Through his job, he gets around a lot on the island and of course knows everyone. It is very important to him that also the foreigners who stay longer on his island feel comfortable. Whenever we meet him, we exchange a few words or drink a beer together. 

Cricket national sport in the Caribbean

Last time he told us about the cricket stadium, which needs a lot of care. Cricket is the national sport on the Caribbean islands and we attend an event on the weekend. Such a match goes on for about four hours. The bowler tries to hit the wicket while the batsman tries to prevent it. With the bat, a wooden board, he tries to knock away the ball thrown by the bowler and get it out of the field if possible. Besides the bowler, there are 10 other players distributed on the playing field, who are supposed to play the hit ball back to the bowler as fast as possible. Meanwhile, the two batsmen of the other team are running back and forth between the wickets that have been set up. These runs are counted. The more runs a team has the better. If a batsman does not reach the wicket before the bowler gets the ball back, or if the wickets hit by the ball cause the batsmen to fall to the ground, the batsman is retired. The inning is over when 10 batsmen are retired. 

Bat, batsman's bat

As a spectator, attention is required as much as on the field, because the ball is also hit into the spectators very often and I think that would be, if hit, very painful. Anyway, the game is very interesting and we are already looking forward to next weekend. But before that, it's time to clear the decks and get back in the water on Monday. After a little over three months, we are really looking forward to it. As always, we wish all our readers fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.