Are you sitting comfortably? …..

Then I’ll begin

Sat.16th
After all the activity on Friday we opted for a lazy day on 11 mile beach. It truly is the epitome of a Caribbean beach…….mile after mile of prestine white sand lapped by pure turquoise sea, backed by the occasional palm tree.

11 mile beach.........probably the best beach in the Caribbean!

11 mile beach………probably the best beach in the Caribbean!

No dragging the dinghy today…..too much exercise yesterday! We strolled along beach combing until we came to the one and only beach bar bar.

Robinson Crusoe and man Friday aka Nigel and Marcus wandering along 11Mile Beach.

Robinson Crusoe and man Friday aka Nigel and Marcus wandering along 11Mile Beach.

The Shell Seekers!

The Shell Seekers!

Sun.17th
A spot more sailing,as we moved round to Coco point. This is a totally exclusive hideaway for the rich and famous. The resort charges $1,500 and we anchored in the same place for free! I went snorkelling to see if I could find any of the turtles we saw as we entered the bay. Just my luck….. Nigel and Bridget went to the beach saw a wray and a big fish through the crystal clear water, just infront of them in the shallows!

Mon.18th
We set off back to Antigua and had a great beam reach all the way down to Nonsuch Bay, on the eastern side of the island. The approach to the bay was very tricky from the north and looking at what appeared to be an unbroken reef ahead of us, we decided to sail on to south entrance.

After a quick look at avilable anchorages, we decided to spend the night in a sheltered mangrove bay, over looked by yet more rich people’s holiday apartments.

It’s sad that all there seems to be are exclusive resorts. There are no local communities or fishing villages so there was nothing to visit.
With the barbecue on the go, the only entertainment was us…..entertainment for the holiday homes!

The Chef de Barbecue.

The Chef de Barbecue.

Tues.19th
With nothing to keep us in Nonsuch Bay, we upped anchor and sailed ‘back home’ to English Harbour……..

The Pillars of Hercules at the entrance to English Harbour.

The Pillars of Hercules at the entrance to English Harbour.

We really did feel at home when we went for lunch at Copper and Lumber Store and the waitress remembered us. We had a good vantage

point for some serious ‘people watching’. Two chilled guys were setting up the wooden trestle supports for the fishing tournament stage. At one point all 20 or so of the trestles collapsed like dominoes and they just slowly picked them up and started again. No problem……’Pani pwoblem’

Weds.20th
Another lazy beach day attempting to remedy Bridget’s ‘panda eyes’ with a spot of sunbathing! I snorkelled over to a wreck near the beach and tried using my new camera.

The wreck.......a bit murky!

The wreck…….a bit murky!

The beautiful, but destructive Lion Fish.

The beautiful, but destructive Lion Fish.

My best shot to date!!

My best shot to date!!

At the moment I am having trouble seeing the display. I wear my contact lenses under my mask, but I need my reading glasses on top to see close to and I clearly can’t use them under water!!

My next solution is to try two different strength lenses. It may make me feel abit woozy, but at least I’ll be able to see what’s on the screen!

In the evening we took a stroll along to Falmouth Harbour and had dinner at Trapas……….the place we were going to eat at on my birthday!

After dinner we were sitting watching the world go by when Nigel and Bridget spotted some people struggling with two very large prices of wood, loading them into their dinghy. Marcus’ attention was aroused and, low and behold, it was Mike and Jules from Flying Buzzard. Needless to say they joined us and we did a lot of catching up over a few moire be vies!.

Thurs.21st
Nigel and Bridget’s last full day.

We moved back into Nelson’s Dockyard to make life easier for getting ashore and caught up with wifi and washing. We had a late breakfast at Copper and Lumber Store, after which, unfortunately, Nigel had a touch of ‘Antiguan Tummy’, so he and Bridget decided to stay aboard, rather than chance a sail around Falmouth Harbour in the Buzzard’s old life boat!

We met Mike and Jules at Sculduggery’s and they took us out to The Buzzard to pick up ‘Scrappy’ for a sail around the harbour.

Flying Buzzard in the background with Marcus at the helm of 'Scrappy' and Rusty ready to trim the sails.

Flying Buzzard in the background with Marcus at the helm of ‘Scrappy’ and Rusty ready to trim the sails.

Scrappy is appropriately named…….she was recused from the hard in Carriacou, where she was filled with mud and rubble and was being used to secure two washing line posts at a friends house! The mast is cobbled together from two salvaged masts, the mainsail and jib are made from one larger red sail with the top cut off for the jib and the main cut as a gaff sail, the gaff pole is an old scaffold type pole and the canoe end stern has been cut away and a transom fibreglassed in to take the rudder. In its day, Scrappy was a sailing life boat from a ship, designed to hold 12 men, but today it took 5 of us happily around the harbour.

It felt very much like ‘The Famous Five’. We had Rusty the dog, the four of us and instead of ‘lashings and lashings of ginger beer’ we had a cool box with lashings of real beer!!

Back on board the Buzzard for the evening.

On the top deck relaxing.

On the top deck relaxing.

Welders gloves doubling as oven gloves!

Welders gloves doubling as oven gloves!

Sadly Nigel and Bridget stayed behind recovering from whatever it was Nigel ate!

Fri. 22nd
Nigel and Bridget’s last day. Mike met us again and took us all out to ‘The Buzzard’, so Nigel and Bridget didn’t miss the chance of seeing this extraordinary part of our maritime heritage!

The Buzzard delivering palm trees for a friend.

The Buzzard delivering palm trees for a friend.

The funnel atrium with its underwater murals.

The funnel atrium with its underwater murals.

Ditto.

Ditto.

The compass binnacle aquarium.

The compass binnacle aquarium.

One of the guest cabins.

One of the guest cabins.

'Rain Dancer'  cabin.

‘Rain Dancer’ cabin.

The Mermaid cabin.

The Mermaid cabin.

After the full tour, we all got in Scrappy and I helmed all the way back to the dock (with hardly a word of advice from my captain!!!)

Here’s a blog address for anyone interested in seeing more and finding out just how much enthusiasm, love and hard work has gone into realising Jules’ and Mike’s dream :-

flyingbuzzard.com

Back to reality- we hired a car for three days and drove Bridget and Nigel to the airport.

'Their bags are packed, they're ready to go....'

‘Their bags are packed, they’re ready to go….’

'They're leaving on a jet plane. Don't know when they'll be back again'  .........(The New Seekers circa1970's)

‘They’re leaving on a jet plane. Don’t know when they’ll be back again’ ………(The New Seekers circa1970’s)

It was sad to see them go. We have really enjoyed their company and it’s been lovely for the brothers to spend time together and for me to have some girly chats!

Sat.23rd
Hire car….must use it!

We went to Dow Interpretation centre and on to the Block House lookout post. This is probably the most sophisticated tourist attraction we have seen in the Caribbean. We sat in a theatre on swivel stools and turned as the tableaux and TV screens lit up showing the history of Antigua from the Arawaks, through the British colonial era to the present day.
On to St John’s for phone top up via east coast. Sea weed is a major problem. Truck loads are being dumped from the St Jame’s posh resort onto the road side for 200 metres. The stench is awful and guests are rightly going elsewhere to eat.
The seaweed has apparently only become a problem in the last three years, but this year is the worst. We can’t help but think that there must be money to be made if the weed could be harvested and turned into fertiliser, but so far no entrepreneur has arrived on a white charger.
Back at Nelson’s Dockyard where we met up with Jules, Mike, Angie, Steve, Carol and Craig for the fishing weigh in. The biggest fish landed was a blue marlin that weighed 588lbs. It’s barbaric that such a majestic creature killed for the sport of humans.

Weighing the biggest catch.....a 588lb Blue Marlin:(

Weighing the biggest catch…..a 588lb Blue Marlin:(

All the fish was taken along to the filleters, who cut up to be sold on the doc………at least all profits went to charity.

Cutting up the catch.

Cutting up the catch.

Marcus queued for an hour to get fish for supper.

Queuing for a share of the catch......tonight's dinner.

Queuing for a share of the catch……tonight’s dinner.

Back on the boat we cooked rice and barbecued our King Fish that had given itself up for our dinner and took it over to the picnic table behind us on the dock.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

Goodnight Mike xx

Goodnight Mike xx

Another fantastic evening with friends.

The rest of Antigua in brief!……..

Sun
Watched the final catches brought in and weighed with Colin and Lou. Met Mick, who was drummer with The Kinks for 20 years.

Mon
Moved boat out to anchor then drove to meet Colin and Lou at a beach bar next to Sandals beach. Met one of their daughters, Elaine, and her x James and two grand children. Roast pork with crackling…what a treat! Marcus and Colin played snooker. Stayed the night.

Tues
Came back from Lou and Colin’s via huge supermarket with Waitrose branded stuff.
Jules’ birthday. Went for meal that rivalled my birthday meal disasters! We waited an hour and a half for starters that were still not being prepared when we left! Went for pizzas instead.
Weds
We were going to leave, but the fridges were not working. The pump needed hitting…a sure sign some maintenance was needed! Cleaned the brushes and it worked, but they’re very worn. Swapped the old pump in as temporary replacement and all’s well.

Thurs
Left English Harbour at 2230 for night sail to Deshais

At anchor in Deshais, Guadaloupe.

At anchor in Deshais, Guadaloupe.

Fri
Left Deshais at 0930 bound for Les Saintes.

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