Thanks to the Christmas winds + additional squalls, we didn’t make it out of Antigua as we’d hoped, but not for lack of trying.

Feeling antsy in crowded Jolly Harbor, we sailed north to explore some of Antigua’s lesser-traveled bays and reefs. Our friends Mary and Pete on s/v Neko were there already, having hosted us for a “goodbye for a while” dinner just two days prior, when we thought we were leaving for St. Martin. Plans and sailing, they really don’t mix – But in this case it worked out great because we got to be together for the holidays.

In turn, I fulfilled a personal wish – entertaining this Christmas/Hanukkah. I’d been gathering ingredients for a meal for months – a frozen turkey in St. Lucia, creme fraiche in Martinique, and here in Antigua, I finally found the raw cranberries I’d been searching for since Grenada – quite the cruising miracle.

On Christmas morning, anchored out behind the posh resort at Jumby Bay, we opened presents in the cockpit from our friends (former Le Phare Bleu dock neighbors) on s/v MickBeth. (Thanks for the lovely surprise, Robin, Gwen, Beth, and Mike!) After coffee, tea and a few of the delicious shortbread cookies we’d been gifted, Brian jumped in a dinghy and accompanied Pete on his kitesurfing outing for most of the day, while I worked through my cooking prep list and used the resort’s wi-fi to refresh my Spotify playlists.

The 10 pound turkey, once spatchcocked, fit exactly in a half hotel pan and cleared the top of the boat oven by less than one inch. My prep list was satisfyingly long: latkes with applesauce, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, kale salad, roasted carrots with a coconut chipotle sauce, and apple galette (plus a delicious sautéed broccoli and garlic dish made by Mary) – everything cooked from scratch here on Nightingale Tune. Having the boat to myself all day to crank tunes, touch base with our friends/family and knock out a prep list? Best gift ever for this cook!

The four of us convened for a fun and delicious night: champagne and latkes (happy Hanukkah!), followed by a nice sunset, more drinks and wayyyy too much food for dinner. It was quite the party. Writing this a whole day later, I’m still stuffed (Brian, on the other hand, was tucking into cold stuffing as we listened to Chris Parker this morning).

Not a day goes by that we don’t reflect on how lucky we are to be out here, and days like these make us feel totally overwhelmed with gratitude. Wishing you all happy holidays, however you chose to celebrate!