Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody

Reflections on Antigua

IMG_6367 IMG_6362 IMG_6359 IMG_6347 IMG_6352 IMG_6351 IMG_6350From St John’s, a gentle drive took us to Fort St James, another monument to English determination to keep out Johnny foreigner, or more accurately our French competitors. Conservation and exploitation of what we would consider historic monuments is still in its infancy here. However there is enough remaining to see that this might have been a very pleasant posting by comparison with some others. Cannon still line the walls, but today guard only a well-known restaurant and a picture postcard beach.


It is interesting to make a gentle comparison with the other islands we have visited so far. The French islands are still very much an extension of La France, whilst Antigua is Caribbean with strong reminders of its English connection. The very colourful villages, roadside stalls and beautiful beaches could not be mistaken for anywhere else, but ‘Her Majesty’s Prison’, the cricket grounds and a few red double decker buses shout England. That the newest cricket ground was built by the Chinese for the World Cup might be glossed over, were it not for the fact that the ground is miles from anywhere, and is not easy for the local people to access.

The contrasts are surprising. The generally neat houses have gardens frequently planted with rusting derelict cars, and are interspersed with surprisingly abandoned dwellings. The people are friendly, and smile broadly when you engage with them. However when you get near the tourist areas, you are fair game for calls on your wallet. Today, there was the strange sight of a man with a small donkey between his legs. Crushing her fellow passenger against the opposite car door, Annemarie rushed to wave the camera at the toothless gent astride his mount. The well-trained donkey smelt gold, and leapt across the road to make the demand. Much scurrying produced some change, but fearlessly, and without regard top the obvious consequences, she then leapt from the car to take more shots. In one move, she prevented us from moving on, and gave Don Quixote the chance to try for more.

Once we extricated her from being a complete ass, it was down to English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. Here the old buildings have been restored and put back into use as bars and restaurants, and are a great place to visit. The Harbour is also currently full of superyachts getting ready for the Caribbean 600 Race on Monday. ‘Superyacht’ does not convey the astonishing range of craft here. From J-Class to vast modern ‘ships’, it is a vast display of the sort of wealth that one can only try to imagine, so far removed from the sailing we enjoy.

After an extended Happy Hour, followed by a superb meal at Oceanis, sadly it was a parting of the ways last night for our friends on the other boats. Webster and Arcarius are heading north to join the ARC Europe Rally. Avanti is off to the BVIs, and we are dropping back to Guadeloupe.

6 comments on “Reflections on Antigua

  1. robcourt
    February 19, 2014

    Great posts again S & AM, love reading them.

    I’m on baby duty this morning and currently feeding Natalie grapes like you would put coins in a slot machine! She started walking a week or so ago and wobbling around she reminds me of my student days at 3am!

    Take care and fair winds


    Sent from Samsung tablet


    • fb425
      February 22, 2014

      Great to hear from you, Rob! I can’t believe Natalie is walking!


  2. Mrs V E Tebby
    February 21, 2014

    Good Morning Annemarie

    You won’t be expecting this – it has taken me all this time to leave you a short message; you know how unreliable I am!! What a fabulous time you are having; we are all jealous here at the BHS. Just wanted to let you know we had not forgotten you – Love from Verity x


    • fb425
      February 22, 2014

      Verity – how great to hear from you and lovely to know that people are following us! This is just such a wonderful experience. Life’s priorities have changed completely, so much so that they are now buying food, doing the washing and other such tasks you don’t even think about in the UK! I’ll do a separate blog on this. Hope all are well and love to everyone – particularly Joy who I think of each time I do some sewing!!


    February 26, 2014

    Glad that all seems well now that the engine’s in and working. Nelson’s Dockyard is impressive. See you’re going back to Guadaloupe. Where next? Love, Claire and Tim


  4. Emma day
    February 28, 2014

    Wow pics gorgeous looks like fab time, yes definitely a long walk round the park and the farm shop on your return!!!!


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This entry was posted on February 19, 2014 by in Caribbean Wanders and tagged , .
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