We are now in Antigua which will be our last port of call for a while. Our boat has been hauled out here to have some work done and, whilst this was in progress, we have decided as a result of issues at home to go back to the UK and spend the summer there, and then resume our travels in November. We plan to return to Antigua at the end of October and get the boat ready to go back in the water. In order to leave the boat we had quite a bit of work to do, both technical such as dealing with the watermaker, and practical, as in clearing out the fridge, freezer and any dry stores which would not last the summer. Thankfully these were all able to go to local charity and so were not wasted. It was quite an emotional moment seeing our boat hanging from the sling while she was cleaned before being rested on her cradle which will be her home for the time being.
Seaduced hanging in the cradle waiting for a bottom scrub!
Before finally coming home we had a week of fun and sunshine with Alex, John's son and Mary, John's mum. We rented a villa in Jolly Harbour for 9 days. John and I spent the first 2 days sorting out the boat and getting her ready to be stored before Mary and Alex joined us. Unfortunately, the first few days were a bit wet and rainy, although things did improve after Thursday and we managed to spend a lot of time chilling out either at the beach or by the pool in the villa.
The beach nearest the house was Jolly Beach and had the most amazing turquoise coloured sea, which was great for swimming, except you couldn't see the bottom due to the sand and so regularly got an unexpected ducking as you stepped down a shelf!
John and Mary enjoying a swim in the sea
The view from the beach
Whilst we were in Antigua, the Classics regatta was on. This is a world famous regatta which draws some of the most famous and beautiful boats to the island. On Thursday, there was a 'beauty parade' so we went down to Falmouth Harbour, after a fabulous lunch in Catherine's Cafe on Antigua Slipway.The whole harbour was buzzing, with crowds of crew on each boat frantically cleaning and polishing. Although it is a 'Classic' yacht regatta, there are various meanings of classic in this case and one class is for modern, ie brand new, boats built to a classic style or design, and so some of the boats are both modern and highly technical and very traditional with lots of polished wood and stainless steel fittings. Also in the harbour was the Maltese Falcon a hugely technical tri-masted boast with an incredible rotating rig and curved spreaders.
'Velsheda' with her extensive 'wardrobe' of sails getting ready for racing
'Ranger' another famous classic
One of the 'must-dos' in Antigua for everyone is Shirley Heights Sundowner Party on Sunday evenings. The party starts early with a steel band from 4pm playing the ubiquitous Bob Marley, but also lots of other well known tunes to sing and dance along to until the sun goes down, when a reggae band starts and plays until about 10pm. Mary had a few misgivings about the whole adventure due to a serious aversion to loud music, but had a fantastic time (wearing her earplugs) dancing the night away!
At Shirley Heights waiting for the sun to go down.
The view over English Harbour from Shirley Heights
A slightly cloudy Antiguan sunset
That's all for now folks.... we will be back adventuring again in November and the blog will re-start then. John and I love to hear of people reading our blog - sometimes people we would least expect, and we wish you all a fantastic summer. Look out for new postings later in the year.
John & Jane xx