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Date: 30 Mar 2011 03:52:00
Title: And then there were four

17:04.201N 061:41.742W Nonsuch Bay, Antigua, Tuesday night

We've just got back onboard Saxon Blue after having our first meal out for ages. It started raining just as we left the restaurant so we all got soaked in the tender. Alden thinks that we're English, so we should be used to it but, in England, we're never without a rain jacket so it doesn't matter.

Andrea and I had a good planning session in bed this morning while we drank our first cup of tea. We decided to get back to Nelson's Dockyard a bit early and then go off to Dominica with Cind so we've been arranging that during the day. We had our breakfast and then set off ashore to walk over to the bay on the far side of Green Island and go for a swim there. It's not very far but it's an interesting walk through whole groves of cacti. The ones that look like Aloe Vera start out tiny, but end up with leaves about 2 meters long and the whole plant is the size of a room. They then send out a flower stalk from the centre with huge yellow flowers - these stalks grow to about 4-5 meters high so they look like trees from a distance. Once the stalk has done its work, the whole plant dies, leaving a hollow cylinder where the leaves grew. As we walked, the whole life cycle was visible around us.

On the far side, we found the bay along with its resident tourist boat. We went for a snorkel and saw some interesting sponges but it wasn't very clear and the waves were a bit high for the girls. After we'd had a good swim around, we got out ready to head back. As I had been wearing my fins in the water, I didn't have any shoes on and, combined with not having my glasses on either, I stood right on a tiny plant which was covered in seed-pods designed to stick into anything which passes. I got a right foot-full of the little sods and it took a while to get them all out. I was still picking bits of dry plant out of my foot hours later.

Once I'd sorted myself out, we got underway back to our bay where we explored some more and found a great cave full of small fish. From there, I swam back to Saxon Blue and got Alden to take the tender to collect the girls. We all had a lovely lunch and then got ready to move the boat nearer to somewhere we could get a taxi. I rang Moody to collect us from Harmony Hall at 5pm and then we got underway to get over there. It was only about a mile so it didn't take long and we passed a huge sailing yacht called Ethereal on the way.

It turned out to be pretty easy to anchor here in the bay outside Harmony Hall which is now a restaurant but was originally a sugar plantation. Andrea and Alden went over in the tender to get rid of our rubbish and book us in for dinner. They paid a few dollars to hand over our garbage but had the unwelcome news that the restaurant was closed for the night. Alden, in particular, was disappointed as he'd been looking forward to catching up on some meat-eating. I suggested that we try to book into another resort nearby which looked half-finished and he shot off over there, returning a few minutes later with the good news that their restaurant was open and that we were booked in.

Christine had spent all this time packing her stuff ready for the trip back to the UK. Her plane left at about 8pm so we all went up to Harmony Hall for a drink in the bar before the taxi arrived. Moody was early but didn't hassle us as we finished our Pina Coladas while we looked out at Saxon Blue anchored in the bay. Then we set off for the airport, leaving Alden to look after the boat.

This side of Antigua is totally different to where we've been before. Outside the resorts, it's completely abandoned. There is just mile after mile of scrubby forest with the ruins of sugar plantations sticking out. The road was graded gravel with occasional tarmac sections and frequent potholes. We saw a Mongoose dart across so that was a good wildlife sighting. After a while, the terrain changed again and we saw some actual farms and even some herds of cattle. It all looked a bit Wild West. Abruptly, we were outside the enormous, brand-new Viv Richards Cricket Stadium which looks as though it's just landed from Mars and is plonked in the middle of nowhere. Soon after that, we were at the airport.

Christine checked in while Andrea sorted out our flights to Dominica with the LIAT guy. Then we said a sad "Goodbye" to Christine who's now on her way back to Gatwick with a bottle of rum in each hand. We got some cash out, found Moody again and then got him to drop us at a nearby supermarket for a strategic strike on the shopping. That didn't take long and then we were on our way back home. By this time, it was pitch dark and it felt like we were in the wilderness as Moody drove us along the dirt roads. We got him to take us into the deserted, half-finished resort where he shot around blind corners and the wrong way down one-way streets until we arrived at the restaurant.

We unloaded all our bags of shopping, got Alden on the VHF to come and get us and then walked through the restaurant and down to the dock. It felt a bit odd walking though there with all our stuff but nobody seemed to mind. Alden took all our swag back onto Saxon Blue and then joined us for dinner. It was a superb meal and both of us boys caught up on some meat-eating with beef tenderloin and even had chips. We were so stuffed by the end that we could hardly walk and then we got caught in the rain so we ended up waddling around getting very wet.

So there are just four of us now. Christine has gone back to London leaving us without a responsible adult onboard so we'll have to find the voice of reason somewhere inside one of us - Andrea, probably. We've got a couple more days out here in the the islands and then it's back to the Dockyard. At least we've got enough supplies.

Harvey

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