The Castle took a terrible beating in the confluence of several storms, and we have been able to help with cleaning her up and packing in new stores. One of our first jobs was to scrub down all the heads with bleach. Several no longer work, and that too has become a challenge of a different sort. Then we wire-brushed rust and undercoated it with rust inhibitors. This required unlashing all sorts of gear and laboring in high heat and humidity. Then Senia and I were sent below to wipe Vaseline on 400 eggs before they were stored away in the hold.
Our group has been divided between two watches as we sit here at the quay. The port watch has done the lion’s share of the labor; the starboard watch has been able to see more of the island. Saturday morning the port watch got the morning off and grabbed a van and guide for a quick trip into the hills which, like everything else on the island, were devastated by hurricane Ivan. Seventy percent of the houses and nearly all the churches and municipal buildings lost their roofs. The trees were all stripped bare.
But Annandale Falls is a bucolic glen, unspoiled by the devastation. We were greeted by “Super Splash,” one of several locals who plunged 60 feet into the pool below. After a couple of demonstrations, he left it to us to climb the cliff and follow his example, and three of us—Becky Gavagan and two crew members, Evan Rickett and Travis Anderson—attempted the challenge. Evan and Travis studied the problem scientifically, ascertaining that the target hole underwater was about the size of a Volkswagen. Becky studied them for a while and then practiced her well honed leadership skills, leaped first, forcing the men to follow her.
Evan, I’m delighted to report, sailed with us on HMS Bounty two years ago. I’m hoping he will again become a guest blogger.