This is part of the ninth section of our around the
Complete Trip Overview & Map
Coming from Dominica
14/3/03 A 5.30 am start with a hectic day. In strong North Easterly winds we were in English Harbour on Antigua by 12 noon but not before we had sighted a mother and calf whale, plus had eight dolphins riding the yachts bow wake together, darting in and out, surfing. Neither Kay nor I are getting sea sick anymore and are enjoying the sailings between islands, although we find them tiring. With another passenger arriving here today we cleaned the boat while the captain went ashore to complete paperwork. Unfortunately Antigua customs won't allow people to land motorcycles. On their boat entry form they ask are you landing anything, giving little opportunity of pleading ignorance. If you advise a motorcycle, we were informed duty would be payable, registration and insurance etc. I dislike country ticking, but we have this idea that one day we might decide to try and ride in every country in the world. It would be a shame to have to come all the way back to Antigua, and complete their paperwork, when the fuel dock will allow us to unload the motorcycle now, supposedly to check the deck where it sits on the boat, and reload it. So we went through the motions. Untied the motorcycle, brought the boat alongside, rode off and for about 1 km around the private wharf area, rode back onto the boat, left the dock and retied the motorcycle, all over in two hours. We will now probably only be staying here a couple of days. Some countries make it difficult not realizing the easier things are the longer people will stay the more foreign exchange they earn.
15/3/03 We are now four on the yacht. Bob, an American of similar age arrived last night and will be with us for two weeks. His sailing experience is a half day sail on "Monsoon" four years ago in Aruba and watching the movie "Mutiny On The Bounty" just before he left home. Being the "new kid on the block" I am sure we will find some interesting things he can manage, like the captain did for us. St John's, the capital, a short minibus ride, bustles on Saturday morning and us low on provisions a great place to restock. We see fresh, not frozen meat, first time in weeks, good quality vegetables and groceries at reasonable prices. This 25 km x 25 km island of 65,000 inhabitants, the largest of the Leeward islands, is still very small in comparison with the islands we have recently visited, yet being dry and heavily grazed can produce a large portion of its own foods. An ex British colony, only gaining independence about 20 years ago.
16/3/03 The famous British Admiral, Nelson, spent considerable time in Antigua in English Harbour, where we are anchored. This was considered a safe hurricane anchorage, had good local timbers for boat repairs and was used as a base to raid the Spanish coast, now Venezuela. Almost fully restored the buildings house a museum, restaurants, hotel and customs, keeping the character of 200 years ago. The area of Falmouth Harbour, nearby, accommodates the mega yachts. Currently about 20 in residence they come here, amongst other reasons, for varnish work, reputedly the best in the Caribbean. A lot built in the Netherlands, as modern classics, permanent crews of 6-10 people, owners and family visiting for only a few weeks a year. The stainless, varnish and polished hulls gleaming and unblemished, a different world. Shirley Heights overlooks the both harbours for a magnificent view and sitting there at sunset watching the spreader lights of the boats come on listening to the Sunday night steel band tops off the effect.
17/3/03 A snorkel in the morning. So far we have been disappointed by the corals and fish we have been seeing around the islands. Overfishing and pollution a possible cause. The rest of the day was pretty lazy with a quiet Guinness at the St Patrick's day celebrations at the yacht club.
18/3/03 Left Antigua on my 50th birthday reflecting that
I was 42 when we started travelling. I believe that despite the stomach sicknesses
associated with travelling to poorer countries that travelling has kept us
more healthy and active than if we had stayed at home. The constant change
keeps the brain working and the diverse activities the body fit. We sailed
the 30 miles to Montserrat where in 1995 the capital was evacuated due to
volcanic activity from the mountain behind. Two years later the volcano exploded
killing 19 and burying hundreds of houses in ash. Since then the dome has
been rebuilding and collapsing regularly spewing ash as high as 13 km's into
the air. Today, sailing no closer than the 2 mile exclusion zone, we could
see long cracks running down the mountains side, regularly belching brown
smoke which hung over the mountain top. Anchored just off the island's northern
Move with us to St Kitts &
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Peter and Kay Forwood,