Sunday, May 6, 2012

Jacque's Visit During Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - April 2012

We arrived in Antigua from St. Martin on April 15 and cleared in at Falmouth Harbor, Di’s old stomping ground from the fabulous eighties.  Much has changed, and in a good way.  We familiarized ourselves with Falmouth and English Harbour, met a lot of new cruiser friends at a “Cruiser meet and greet” happy hour, and did some exploring to get ready for darling daughter Jacque’s arrival. 

 We wanted to be able to show her as much as we could during her short and welcome visit. Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta kicked off with a lively party at the Antigua Yacht Club, and the party continued all week! 
Sinbad welcomed Jacque, a former member of the “all girl crew of Rachael Too”, aboard on April 21 for five days of relaxing and regatta. She arrived when the regatta was in full swing.
 We walked the docks and inspected the immaculate fleet of classic yachts, marveling at the pristine condition and remarkable craftsmanship in evidence on these fabulous old boats, many of which dated from the early 1900’s. 


Then we returned to the yacht club for complementary snacks and cocktails and to “chip and wind” (local dance moves)  to live music as the sun went down and the moon came up.  What a party!

The next day Jacque and Di went exploring.  We walked around Nelson’s Dockyard, appreciating the Georgian architecture and lush landscaping of this beautifully restored naval dockyard.

 We hiked out to Fort Berkeley, overlooking the entrance to English Harbour, and then turned back to hike the Middle Ground Trail overland, by more ruined fortifications. Jacque got acquainted with the rugged landscape, plants and animals of Antigua. 

We ended up at Pigeon Beach in Falmouth Harbour. We rested up from our hike, enjoyed refreshments at the beach bar and grill, then changed in to our bathing suits and swam back to Sinbad, at anchor near the beach. It was Jacque’s first day at Camp Sinbad! 

We spent a day lounging, swimming and relaxing at anchor by day and partying at the Yacht Club and Dockyard in the evening

 We had a great time  singing along with a guitar playing cab driver on the way to the Dockyard, anddancing at the Rasta Shack with English pals Andrew and Kate from Hammersmith, near London, who were charmed with Jacque ( and wanted her to come to England and marry their son!)

The next day, Monday, we boarded the local bus and rode in into St. Johns, the capital of Antigua.  We had tried to contact Lionel Michael, our good friend and esteemed colleague in Public Health, but were unable to reach him by phone.  So we asked around and made some calls, and managed to locate and call on him at his office in St. Johns Health Centre.  He was surprised and delighted to see us, especially Jacque.  They became buddies when Jac was nine months old, when he spent Christmas break with us during his studies at Ferris State U. He says she looks the same—and so does he! 
After this brief meeting, we had lunch on Redcliffe Quay, overlooking the bay and the pirate-y party boat Black Swan.

Di then lead Jacque and Randy on a whirlwind walking tour around St. John, past the old places she remembered and to her old house on (what used to be) the edge of town.  Then back to Falmouth on the hot and crowded but cheerful bus.
On Tuesday, we moved the boat from Falmouth around to Deep Bay, on Antigua’s western coast.  Lovely, quiet, clear water. 

We anchored in time to snorkel on the wreck of the “Andes”, a ship that burned with a cargo of pitch at the turn of the last century.  Jac quickly got the hang snorkeling, and saw a lobster, shark, lionfish while diving her first wreck. The sun set in a pool of coral light, the moon rose, the stars came out , the tree frogs  chirping and the lapping of the waves on the beach.  All peaceful.  We heard the distant sound of local soca music…moving…getting closer… and louder. And  louder. And LOUDER!  It was the Black Swan, coming straight at us with music blaring at ear-splitting decibels.  They picked up a mooring right next to Sinbad and proceeded to party with deafening volumes exceeding that of a jet engine, until well after midnight.

The next day we came ashore and hiked over to the ruins of Fort Barrington, overlooking St. Johns harbor and Deep Bay. Lovely views and well preserved Georgian powder magazine structures. 

After exploring the small beach and nearby salt pond, we headed back to the boat and motored back down the west coast to Jolly Harbour. Randy took us on a dinghy tour of this extensive development and then went ashore to explore, shop and chill. Nice facilities and reasonable prices- we decided to return here to for fuel and water before we head the boat south for the hurricane season.
The next day Randy relaxed and read aboard Sinbad while Jacque and Di took the dinghy around to Jolly Beach.  The shallow water and white sand here produce the most brilliant turquoise water, and we enjoyed shopping with the beach vendors and swimming. Jac also learned to operate the outboard motor so she was the dinghy captain for the entire day.

Friday came too soon, and it was time to return to Falmouth for Jac to fly out on Saturday.  We swam over to Pigeon Beach and played in the water there, and did the Yacht Club parties for one last time, enjoying a nice meal ashore at the Yacht Club for Jacque’s Aloha Night.  The week went by too fast!

Since Jac departed, Randy and Di participated in the Antigua Sailing week festivities, notably the Ky-Mani Marley concert. The warm up band rocked the house , the Mighty Swallow came on to perform. 

We had a blast and made the papers (see our heads in the tiny circle!). Since then we’ve hiked up to Dow Hill, down the Forest Path and back down to Freemans Bay via the Indiana Jones Rocky Ravine of Doom.  Whils Randy limed, Di returned to pick acerola cherries growing wild by the roadside, went thru Shirley Heights and returned via Desmond’s Look-out Trail. Randy is closing on the sale of his house, so we returned to St. Johns to scout for a Notary and Fedex, and had a nice lunch at last with Lionel.  He gave us a tour of the town and a quick visit with old colleague Alton Ford, and then a ride back to the bus station. After, we moved the boat up to Five Islands to swim and clean the bottom, will top up the tanks at Jolly Harbour and prepare to move South for hurricane season.

Another long story told, hopefully more and shorter next time!  Cheers, Di

1 comment:

  1. Euro Swabby LarryJune 12, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    Congrats on getting to Bonaire! Pics are great, wish i had a boat....