ARAGORN ... Not all those who wander are lost

Antigua and the Caribbean

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Antigua is the largest of the British Leeward Islands with warm, steady winds, a complex coastline of safe harbors, and a protective, nearly unbroken wall of coral reef. It would make a perfect place to hide a fleet. And so in 1784 the legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to Antigua and established Great Britain's most important Caribbean base. Little did he know that over 200 years later the same unique characteristics that attracted the Royal Navy would transform Antigua and keep calling us back! Many wonderful moments have been spent here with family and friends over the last three winters (New Years Eve watching fireworks from the cockpit; sailing on a Baltic Trader in Classic Race Week 2001; and sailing on a J46 in Race Week 2002!). Here we join and welcome the other Blue Water Rally yachts arriving from Gibraltar via Tenerife (2610 nm). We begin the journey of a life time!!!

Antigua, the more populated island in the country of Antigua and Barbuda. The boats from Gibraltar will meet us here. (Yes, you can get a good look at the volcano on Monserrat from Antigua... but it is better sailing close by.)

Just finished, the crew looks a bit tired, but happy. Notice that we all have grown one leg longer than the other, in answer to sailing on the wind for 85% of the trip! From left to right, we are: John Koch, liveaboard cruiser, June Anderson, sometimes a suburban CT housewife and mother, Dick, and "Henry", otherwise known as Brian Greenwood or the Elf King. Also you will notice that there is gray overcast and drizzle. The tropical wave and revolving low we dealt with the last four days out caused the unusual conditions that the tourist boards never tell you about.

June, Dick, John and Henry at start. Looking a bit cleaner than "at finish" photo. But we did have hot showers 11 of the 12 days! Maybe we are just a little less tired.

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Every dawn and dusk watch requires a walk around the deck for a check of all gear. Here Dick goes forward to do the morning rounds. Photo courtesy of June Anderson.

This dorado gave us eight fillets plus a lunch! Henry shows off this one, the second one we got in as many days. We don't fish as much as hunt for food; we use 130# test on a hand yo-yo. (June Anderson photo)

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The view of Falmouth (farther) and English (nearer) harbors. We prefer Falmouth for cleaner water and the quiet, but English Harbour has the historic "Nelson's Dockyard" dating from the time of English rule of the seas under sail. This view is from Shirley Heights, ruins of an old signaling station.

Shirley Heights on Thursday and Sunday nights gets going with some bands ... the first one being the number one steel band ("pans") in Antigua.

On Sunday evenings, Shirley Heights hosts the top steel drum (pan) band of Antigua - The Halcyon. Here one of their players shows how much he gets into the music!

At Shirley Heights you can buy drinks and barbeque, but also hats, flowers or lamp shades made out of palm fronds by Mansfield. Here he makes a sale to some British tourists.

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One of the loveliest churches we've seen is in Liberta, Antigua.

Leslie poses with our favorite laundry lady at Antigua, Mavis. The Mavis Laundry tee-shirt was Leslie's New Year's gift from Mavis.

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The number one boatman in Dominica is Martin Carrierre ("Providence" on VHF 16). He has become a good friend of ours over our four years of visiting Portsmouth, Dominica.

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Our 0730 departure was slightly delayed as the local fishermen set and recovered their net just off our mooring beneath the Pitons in St. Lucia. When setting the net, two of the crew jump in to hold one end of the net while the boat encircles the school of fish. If you look closely, you will notice their boat is a dugout canoe, with two boards attached to raise the topsides. With a 40-HP outboard attached, it moves along.

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Copyright Richard W. York 2005