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Date: 13 Apr 2011 23:37:00
Title: Half Moon Bay

Admiral's Inn, Nelson's Dockyard, Wednesday evening

We've just got back to the hotel after a visit to Half Moon Bay. It was our last chance for a swim and snorkel in the Caribbean and the bay is reputed to be the most beautiful on the island. It was lovely but not as natural and untouched as some of the ones we've found offshore over the last month or so.

We had a slow start to the day as I didn't feel too great - waking up with a sore head. Must have drunk too much fizzy water last night. Andrea was buzzing around getting our stuff packed up as we had to move rooms this morning. The hotel is really busy now with people arriving for Antigua Classic Yacht Week. There are beautiful wooden boats parked everywhere and I suppose the owners would rather stay in a hotel than in the cramped quarters such fine hulls provide. Anyway, Andrea had most of our stuff moved upstairs to our new attic room before we went down for breakfast.

I felt a bit better after something to eat so we decided to see if we could get ourselves removed from Saxon Blue's crew list. This is on our Customs Clearance document and I wanted to have us off it just in case somebody else takes the boat out of Antigua and couldn't prove that we had left. I had no faith whatever that we'd achieve it but, amazingly, they just crossed our names off, wrote our details in their paperwork and that's it. To be honest, we could have just crossed our own names off as there is no system for cross-checking anything but they already manage to make me feel like a criminal every time I walk into the office without me actually making myself into one.

After that unexpected success, we went down to Falmouth to do a bit of shopping, then back to the hotel for lunch. Andrea wanted to go for a last swim but didn't fancy the beach in Falmouth Harbour which is a bit near all the boats. We'd heard about Half Moon Bay and the manager of the hotel recommended it as well so we rang Moody to see if he could take us over there. He was on his way to the airport so sub-contracted Oliver to do the job. When we walked out to the taxi rank, he was waiting for us and was very happy as he'd only just arrived there so he was last in the queue to get a fare. We'd effectively jumped the whole queue for him which made him very chatty.

On the way around to the Bay, he told us about his sons, how the middle one had nearly died from a brain tumour but was OK now and how Oliver's O negative blood meant that he couldn't be a vegetarian, even though he is a Rasta. It was very entertaining as we pottered along as he only has one driving speed, irrespective of road conditions or, indeed, other traffic. He told us about the party they have at the end of the season on Half Moon Bay for all the taxi drivers and everyone else in the tourist industry so it's popular with locals as well.

He dropped us off after a 45 minute drive which was much longer than we expected as it's not far on the map but the road goes all around a huge bay on the way and parts of it are just gravel tracks. There weren't many people on the beach due, in part, to the fact that this is the third day on the trot with cloudy skies and drizzle. Nobody in Antigua can remember weather like it but, as we've discovered, everyone says that about the weather regardless of where we are or what it's doing. We walked past the surf part of the bay to the end which is tucked in behind a small reef so it's much calmer, got our gear on and went in. It was pretty shallow but clear with boulders mixed in amongst the sea grass in among the sand. There were plenty of fish to look at and Andrea spotted a small octopus. He shot off in a cloud of black ink when she put her foot near him but he soon came out again and I watched him undulating over the rocks, instantaneously changing his colour to match the background as he went.

After we got too cold for swimming, we walked along the far end of the bay and along some terraced rocks, carved by the sea. Looking out, we could see the horizon of the Atlantic with some nearby islands to the North and Guadeloupe to the South. The crashing waves were an excellent reminder of just how much sea we've travelled over in the last 12 months and just how magical it all is.

We're off in a minute over to the other side of the harbour to Catherine's for our last evening on Antigua. It's the best restaurant we've found on our travels so it's a fitting place to end up. Just a few last odds and ends to finish tomorrow then we can enjoy the Classic yachts so I'm finally starting to relax.

Harvey

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