Friday, June 20, 2008

50 Not Out - Day 10. across to Cane Garden Bay

OK, it's now mid-June, a full three months after we got back from the BVI. I think I ought to accelerate my posting a bit, before it overlaps with my 60th birthday report!

Since it's been left out for a while, here's the faithful little dinghy that trailed behind us for the whole two weeks. They're pretty cool little ribs, actually. Perhaps we should get one for zooming round Chichester Harbour or taking up and down the Thames.

This pic was taken at Sandy Cay, where we stopped off for breakfast on our way over to CGB. We'd already had an eventful day by the time we arrived there.

As I made my way into the cockpit first thing, it was obvious that the scene wasn't quite as it should be. I'd paid attention to the boats to our right, because one of them, a largish Moorings cat was disconcertingly close to where I thought our anchor was. Only now it wasn't, it was about twenty yards back....and sliding slowly backwards towards Invictus 2! It was obvious that there was nobody awake on the boat, and it looked like it wasn't going to be long before there was an expensive coming together. I fired up the little yellow dinghy and headed across there. There was no response to me calling them from the dinghy, but battering on the sides of the hulls, soon had the skipper peering blearily out of a hatch. He did well to get everyone up and the boat stabilised before anything bad happened.

Since we were going to be heading away for breakfast anyhow, we upped anchor pretty much immediately and headed out of the harbour. We got lots of waves and blown kisses from Invictus as we left. I think they were appreciative that we'd saved them from damage. I'm sure it would have been covered by Moorings insurance, but they live on the boat, so the inconvenience would have been pretty irritating.

We arrived over at Sandy Cay after a short motor and anchored a short distance from this guy before getting the coffee going. We hadn't really got any plans for the morning, so we weren't in a rush to head off until some idiot came in at 90 degrees to the direction we were lying and stopped about 20 metres ahead of us before dropping a few metres of anchor chain in a heap. It was obvious that as he swung round, he'd broadside us but, before we could ask him to move, he got in his dinghy and headed off to shore.

We quickly upped anchor again and headed off to Cane Garden Bay, muttering darkly about charter companies not properly vetting their charterers.

The rest of the day improved quickly, although the weather was up and down, with sunshine and showers. We wandered over to Stanley's for the obligatory cheeseburger in paradise, although Missy broke ranks and had the honey stung chicken, which she's still raving about.

After lunch our plan was to head over to Bobby's to get a couple of bottles of the local Callwood's rum. We misremembered the route from the last trip, making a substantial detour in entirely the wrong direction, actually passing the distillery and this little guy making his presence felt as king of the hill. After re-traceing our steps back to Bobby's it turned out that they didn't actually have any of the rum, anyhow. We nipped back to Stanley's who said that they did have a shop at the distillery, although he wasn't sure if they'd be open on a Sunday afternoon.

We thought we'd take a chance on it, otherwise it would be an indefinite amount of time having to drink Mountgay rum on Moonshine. There's nothing wrong with Mountgay, but it fundamentally isn't Arundel rum, and somehow doesn't seem quite as right.

I'd visualised the distillery as a modern factory with gleaming stainless steel stills and guys in white coats. That's about as far as from this place as it could be possible to be. There were three teenage lads mooching around in the "shop", who were just about to leave for the day. They did have plenty of rum, though, and a dollar each bought us a tour of the facility.

The youngest of the three boys showed us around. He was very proud of the history of the place. The buildings are approaching 400 years old, and the Callwood family (he's a Callwood) have owned the distillery for 200 of them. The place is the most ramshackle thing imaginable, but utterly fascinating.

This is the drive leading up to the distillery. It's not quite as industrial as I'd imagined!

Through the gloom, you can just make out the glass demijohns, where the white rum is aged.

This is where it all starts: A field of sugar cane next to the distillery, complete with sign warning off miscreants.

The engine room of the whole operation: Underneath the corrugated iron roof is an ancient truck engine. A belt connects the engine to a medieval-looking crushing device. The juice is squeezed out of the canes and it runs into an old stone trough.

The cane is dried, and used as fuel to boil the cane-juice. The entrance to the furnace is the circular pipe in the wall.

The juice is then fermented for a period of time. It's then re-boiled before being run through this ancient old still -
not much sign of stainless steel or gleaming copper around here!

The resulting spirit is then aged for a while. The white rum is aged in the glass jars, while the dark rum is aged in old oak whisky casks, which give it it's darker colour and the hint of vanilla, which tastes so good sitting in the cockpit of Moonshine while staring at the night sky.

Sunset for our last evening on the boat (boo!) before we headed off to Antigua for a couple of days (hurray!) and then home (boo!) before easter at the parents' (hurray!).

We ate at Quito's on our last evening. More great seafood, and another great table at a restaurant, overlooking the bay.

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