December 4, 2008
Three days ago, we stepped off the plane in Antigua and the tropics hit us in the face. The smells of the Caribbean arrived on warm, tropical breezes. Al’s bags didn’t arrive! Claudia and I carried our baggage on, so that wasn’t a problem for us. Al’s insulin was in his bag so he had to watch his sugar intake. By the time we got to the marina, the tiki bar was open. Al got a wrm reception from the b ar’s owner, Alicia, who said she owed him some money so we had a rum, two rums, well maybe three rums, on the house.
We boarded Second Wind which had been on the hard for 6 months. Ships and sailors rot in port and Second Wind showed it. Dampness and mildew abounded and work that was supposed to have been completed wasn’t. Dead batteries were to have been replaced but weren’t, so there was no 12 volt power, no bilge pumps, no water. The new roller furler was not completely installed since the yard workers had dropped a piece overboard. Still, it was good to be aboard.
We spent the next day prioritizing things we needed to do. I nearly fell overboard stepping from the dock to the boat. I grabbed a bimini support and ended up hanging from one hand. I banged a shin and caught an anchor fluke with my right bicep. I didn’t realize that I did more than scrape it. I actually impaled myself! It hurt, but I survived. We cleaned the wound with betadyne solution and covered it with a bandaid. We hung around all day waiting for the airline to deliver Al’s bags. By bedtime, they still hadn’t arrived although we understood they were on the island. Somewhere around 9:30 or 10 someone tapped on the boat and said, “Hello inside!” Al’s bags finally arrived.
Yesterday, since we were waiting for assorted jobs to be done on the boat, we went to English Harbor. We toured Nelson’s Boatyard which has been largely restored to it’s 18th state. We ate at Grace’s—a restaurant recommended by Mike, our taxi driver—strictly local fare, salt fish, fungi, curry. There were only locals in the tiny restaurant.
We returned to Jolly Harbor via a sightseeing trip up to Shirley Heights and through the “rain” forest. I say “rain,” but very little rain actually falls on it. We stopped along the way and bought all kinds of native fruit—soursop, pineapples, limes, avocado, sweet apple, figs (actually sweet finger bananas) and several bottles of rum. Upon arrival at Jolly Harbor, we did some provisioning.
Back at the boat, we had to try some of the Antiguan rum. It was so good, we had to try some more. Then, Al mixed up his famous Passion Fruit rum punch. A perfect end to a perfect day.