Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
Arriving in Antigua was very special. It enabled us to take up a longstanding invitation from Mervyn and Amanda to visit them, and to berth in their private dock. Fellow Moody Owners , they have had a harbourside house in Jolly Harbour for many years. Coming in to their berth and greeting them again was difficult to believe after so long.
As ever, there are bits of maintenance to be done. This time it is the anchor windlass that is crotchety and sulking. It refuses to accept commands from the control, and then only lets the chain out when it feels like it. So it was in line for the rubber glove treatment! That took a few hours to administer, but is now sorted.
At long last we also managed to get our wifi hub sorted. It has only taken since the night before we sailed from Las Palmas! For the sailors amongst you, do not ever be tempted by Mailasail’s Red Box. It is the electronic equivalent of snake oil, and of even less use IMHO. Much better to save your money and buy a £10 Sitecom hub. (Rant over)
Anyway, Jolly Harbour is a pretty lagoon, with restaurants and a supermarket immediately to hand, and beaches in close proximity. All so convenient that a conscious effort has to be made to set foot outside it. Time to hire a car!
Sunday saw us get to the local church, a packed glorious service at St Marys, before driving out to Devil’s Bridge. I hasten to add that there was no connection, but it is a well-known landmark! Set on the north-western tip of the island, the wind and the rocky coast combined to throw up steep waves. Great for sightseeing, but we felt for a couple of yachts just offshore that were battling the big waves head-on.
Lunch was at Cloggy’s, the bar at the Antigua Yacht Club. Run by a Dutchman (hence the name), it is a regular haunt for many and set us up just right for a trip up to Shirley Heights. This hilltop retreat was for many decades the bastion of the English Army, its strategic position over Falmouth and English Harbours providing reassurance against any sneaky French attacks. The buildings have long since crumbled away, but it has become an institution of a difference sort today. Twice a week, bands set up to play there, particularly the steel band, with a barbecue and bar. For 3 hours, there was frenetic drumming and showmanship, coupled with an amazing repertoire. One would not believe classical music translating to a steel band, but these skilled players delivered it. (No idea if the video will come out, but we will have a go at attaching it).
On Monday, we drove into St John’s. This lively bustling city was very different to the other cities we have visited out here. Close to the harbour, the focus is on addressing the (perceived) needs of the cruise ship tourists, with constant offers from the taxi drivers and the shopkeepers/stallholders. However the most entertaining of these had to be the inebriated or stoned mobile Starbucks. With his coffee urn precariously balanced on his head, he wobbled his way on his bicycle weaving between the pedestrians and traffic. It had all the makings of a messy disaster, but somehow he kept going.