Wednesday, 26 February 2014

7/2014 Part 2 Antigua

Hi from Clare,                                                   Tuesday 25th February 2014 
When last I wrote we were anchored in Five Islands Bay on the west side of Antigua and taking advantage of a strong Wifi connection complements of a nearby resort. Our British friends Tony and Jill on "Nychea" came to the same bay and so we enjoyed another evening trying unsuccessfully to beat Tony at Mexican Train. He's a very strategic player and more so very tinny, a hard combination to beat; we can only live in hope.

The following morning we motored three miles into Jolly Harbour to do some provisioning. The well stocked Epicurean supermarket was our last chance to stock up with English products. From now on it will be Caribbean corner stores and vegetables that I have never seen before and have no idea how to cook.

We caught the bus into St John's which is the capital of the island. The bus seats about 30 people and that includes three across the bench seat with the driver; very reminiscent of bus travel in Turkey. We were the only white people on the bus and although English is the spoken language it is hard to understand the locals, especially when they speak quickly. The noticeable difference in Antigua as compared to the French island of St Barth and the French/Dutch island of St Marteen is that the shops, resorts, restaurants and everything else are run and serviced by native Antiguans. They are very friendly and unlike other islands we have visited the native people speak to the tourists first.

The trip into St John's was interesting as we drove down some of the back streets picking up passengers. When someone wanted to get off they would say "Bus Stop" and miraculously amongst the traffic noise, the whirring of engine and everyone talking at once, the driver would hear the request. The trip gave us a good opportunity to see the local housing and living conditions. The houses are OK, but as we have seen on a lot of islands, they are not well maintained. The shutters are falling off the windows, the house paint is peeling, the fences are broken and the gardens are non- existent. I can't understand this as the people are well groomed, well dressed and smell nicely of perfume and aftershave; who can figure it?

There was a seven thousand passenger cruise ship in town which had departed from Fort Lauderdale Miami four days earlier. We went down to the duty free shopping area but it was full of Americans. We heard one such American asking a shop keeper "What country is this?". Not a good start for someone on day four of a forty nine day cruise to South America and back. So we left the Americans to the duty free shopping and walked up to the Antigua Recreation Ground where in 2004 Brian Lara scored 400 runs not out in one innings against England. There is also a Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but we didn't get to see that one. Instead we hot footed it down to the Digicel and bought a internet sim card for one month. Unfortunately we could only get 2and1/2G so we won't have Skype on the boat.

Our friends on "Nychea" have gone home to Gurnsey for three weeks and unfortunately by the time they get back we will have moved on and will probably not see them again this season. We had a final dinner at La Porta Restaurant with them and another English couple Sue and Ian on "Hoyden". Ian is eighty two and is the oldest cruising person we have met. He is in remarkable condition but he no longer wants to do long passages; I can certainly understand this.

So we left Jolly Harbour and sailed to Deep Bay further along the west coast of Antigua. It is well protected from the Atlantic swell and strong wind we are experiencing. It has a very nice sandy beach and the water temperature is 25 degrees. Friday night our Aussie friend Bronwyn Adamson spent the night with us on Eye Candy. You may recall that Bronwyn did the Atlantic Crossing with us in 2012 and was a greatly appreciated member of the ABC Team. She is Chief Engineer on a 60 metre motor yacht which has called into Antigua for a few days before heading to St Martin. It was wonderful to have her on board again; she fits in so well we would like to keep her here forever.

 Bronwyn and Long Island houses
Our next overnight stop was on the north side of Antigua. After reporting seeing dilapidated houses, the housing on this side of the island is first class; large private homes, gorgeous resorts and very modern multi story apartments. We spent the night anchored off Long Island which is a private island about half a mile off the north coast. As you can see by the photo it is a beautiful location. The homes we could see from the boat had a pool as well as beach frontage.

Yesterday we sailed thirty miles to the Island of Barbuda which is said to have the best beaches in the Caribbean. We are anchored off an eleven mile sandy beach and as you can see by the photos it is very beautiful.

 Beach at Barbuda

We intend staying here for a few days to enjoy. Having said that it is now 3pm and we have been busy all day doing chores. So good bye, it's time to go to the beach.

Love Candy xx

At 10:41 PM22/02/2014 (utc) our position was 17°07.54'N 061°53.23'W

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